Carry Cargo are experts in shipping to Ghana and here we have outlined some of the pitfalls and problems that may surface when exporting to that country.

Shipments destined for Ghana require expert knowledge of documentation & customs procedure to avoid time consuming and costly mistakes.

The Ghana market can, if you are not extremely diligent, be a minefield of hidden requirements which, if not met in full can delay an urgent shipment or indeed, result in confiscation of goods.

Our Export team at Carry Cargo International has a wealth of in depth experience, practical knowledge and cultural insight which combine to allow you to have confidence that deadlines will be met and customers satisfied.

From the initial drawing up of Letters of Credit through to request of necessary proofs of delivery, Carry Cargo can advise, highlight elements of risk and help exporters avoid traps.


Independent republic in West Africa within the Commonwealth. Bordered by Burkina Faso in the north, Cote d’Ivoire in the west and Togo in the east.


Capital: Accra

Principal Ports

Takoradi, Tema


25.7 million

International Country Code



English and indigenous languages (including Asante, Akan, Ewe, Fante and Ga).


Muslim, Christian, others


Output from the offshore Jubilee oilfield — which began production in 2010 — is expected to double between 2015 and 2017. However, the Government now faces challenges in managing this new revenue while maintaining fiscal discipline and resisting debt accumulation. Also, despite being well-endowed with natural resources, including gold, Ghana still remains heavily dependent on international financial and technical assistance. The domestic economy continues to revolve around agriculture, which accounts for about 35% per cent of GDP and employs about 55% per cent of the workforce, most of whom are small landholders. The key crop is cocoa. Thematic priorities under the government’s current Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy, which also provides the framework for development partner assistance, are: economic stability; private sector competitiveness; human resource development; and good governance and civic responsibility. A new IMF assistance programme was approved in April 2015 and will guide the Government’s future economic policies.

Political background

The legal system is based on English common law and customary law. The cabinet is nominated by the president and subject to approval by parliament. The unicameral parliament consists of 200 seats. The current president is John Dramani Mahama, who took office in 2012.

Working Week

0800–1230 and 1330–1700 (Saturdays 0800–1230)

Transport Infrastructure

Ghana has 109,515km of roads, of which only 13,787km are paved. Many roads outside Accra are in poor condition. The country also has 947km of railway track but services can be slow in comparison to travel by road. Of 10 airports, seven have paved runways.

Communications Infrastructure

Ghana has a rather outdated and unreliable telephone system and only 285,000 main lines are in use, most of which are in Accra. The country also has 25.6 million mobile phone subscribers and 3.5 million internet users.

Business Protocol and Social Convention

Generally, Ghanaian business customs are similar to those of the UK. Ghanaian businessmen wear suits during working hours and would expect their visitors to dress in the same manner. It is relatively easy to arrange appointments with local businessmen and government officials. Business cards are widely used.

Main Industries

Agriculture, mining, forestry, light manufacturing, aluminum smelting, food processing, cement production, small commercial ship building, petroleum.

Main Products Exported

Gold, oil, cocoa, timber, tuna, bauxite, aluminium, manganese ore, diamonds, horticultural products.

Trade Relationships

International Reputation

The exporter will be paid in either US$ or other foreign currency and the recipient of the goods will wire currency direct to the exporter’s bank account.

Major Trade Partners

The Netherlands, China, Germany, Italy, France, the UK, South Africa and the US

Membership of Organisations and Trade Agreements

Trade Agreements


Membership of Organisations

ADB, APEC, ARF, ASEAN, BIS, CD, CICA (observer), CP, D-8, EAS, EITI (candidate country), FAO, G-11, G-15, G-20, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MONUSCO, NAM, OECD (Enhanced engagement), OIC, OPCW, PIF (partner), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNISFA, UNMIL, UNIMISS, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO


Bills of Lading

No special regulations. May be made out “to order”. Weight/measurement details must be stated in imperial and metric units. Through bills of lading to inland points within Ghana are not acceptable.


The original freight account, officially receipted by the shipping company, must accompany all documents when payment is made through a bank.

Certificates of Origin

None, unless specifically required by the customer in the order or letter of credit. If requested then an EC Certificate of Origin must be obtained from your local Chamber of Commerce (see the EC Certificates of Origin topic). If required, the certificate may be submitted in any language, though a translation into French may be requested.

Special Certificates

  • Animal, marine, vegetable and plant products (including seeds, plant propagation material products and peat) require a Health Certificate or import permit. Plants and some, but not all, plant products require a Phytosanitary Certificate. Phytosanitary controls are required for the import of certain plants, seeds, potatoes, seed potatoes, fruit and berries, plant propagation material products and peat that could present a phytosanitary risk. Further information on the International Plant Protection Convention can be found on

  • Exports of milk and milk products to non-EU countries must be accompanied by a Declaration Origin (Dioxin) issued by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) in the UK.
  • Whisky importers require a Certificate of Verification of age, origin and GI confirmation if Scotch Whisky.
  • Health Certificates raised by an official authority in the exporter’s country are required for food and foodstuffs, including vegetables and fruit. The certificate is required even if only samples of food are being shipped.
  • Regulations are in place concerning the Registry and Labelling Requirement for Medical Products that may also require a Health Certificate. Second hand clothes should be accompanied by a Fumigation Certificate.
  • Pharmaceutical products, organic chemicals, fertilisers require a Health Certificate or import permit.
  • Special permits, usually obtained by the importer, are required for a range of products including telecommunication equipment, explosives, firearms, chemicals, inorganic chemicals, dyes and paints, cosmetics and the like, photo lab and some photographic materials and refrigeration equipment.
  • Shipments of wildlife and wildlife products subject to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) require an import permit.

  • Textiles are classed as high-risk items and can only be imported through three main entry points: Kotoka International Airport; Tema Port and Takoradi Port. The aim is to prevent the importation of low-quality textiles and to provide for a better control of the imported amounts of cotton in order to protect the local production in this raw material. Consignments of textiles are also subject to Destination Inspection.
  • Second hand goods may be inspected by the Ghana Standards and require, along with usual customs paperwork a Port Health Certificate / Fumigation Certificate and Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) Certificate of Analysis. (In the absence of a Fumigation Certificate from the country of origin, the agent/importer will arrange fumigation locally with the port authority.) Second-hand fridges, freezers, air conditioners and incandescent filament lamps are prohibited.
  • The import of second-hand motor vehicles and personal effects are subject to special controls that must be checked out prior to exporting.

Shipping to Ghana

Pre-shipment inspection is no longer required for goods going to Ghana. It has been replaced by the Destination Inspection System. Almost all goods imported into Ghana, regardless of value, are subject to inspection upon arrival. The checks are made to valuation and classification. Upon satisfactory checks a Final Classification and Valuation Report (FCVR) or Gateway pass is issued to allow import to continue. The DIS Exemption List includes:

  • personal household goods, including motor vehicle
  • scrap metal
  • goods imported by mail not exceeding US$2000
  • crude oil
  • supplies for diplomatic missions and United Nations organisations not involving the provision of foreign exchange from Ghana
  • imports by the Ghana Armed Forces and Ghana Police Service of explosives and pyrotechnic products, arms, ammunition and implements of war
  • gold, precious stones and objects of art
  • live animals
  • trade samples
  • foodstuff from bordering African countries
  • fresh or frozen fish caught in Ghanaian waters by Ghanaian owned vessels.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry is the responsible authority and has appointed the following inspection companies to administer the programme. The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) verifies the details of the Import Declaration Form against the invoice and other customs documents to determine the code and admissibility of the merchandise. The importer may have to pay a fee for the destination inspection which shall not exceed 1% of the total dutiable CIF value as the minister may by legislative instrument prescribe.

Pre-shipment inspection warning

The rules concerning PSI change frequently and exporters are advised to check the current requirements with either your customer or PSI company.

EU Forms

As part of the European Partnership Agreements (EPA), a preferential trade agreement, exporters may be requested to issue the EUR1 Form to accompany the goods. Before completing an EUR1 exporters must confirm shipments meet the appropriate qualification rules (See Customs Notices 827 and 828). EUR Forms and Customs Notices can be obtained free from the Customs helpline on 0300 200 3700.

Commercial Invoices

Commercial invoices to be issued in three copies, originally signed. Invoices must include a full and accurate description of goods, first six digits of the commodity code (HS Code), transport details, weights and dimensions, value and currency of the supply including separate indication of additional costs such as freight and insurance, the shipping term (the Incoterms® 2010 rule, eg FCA, CIP, DAP), country of origin, name and address of the manufacturer and the full addresses of all parties concerned. It is advisable to include the following declaration on the invoice: “I/We confirm that the goods covered by this invoice are supplied from stock.”

Additionally a specially designed Combined Certificate of Value and Invoice (C/V) must be provided for all goods (eg Certificate of Value Form 166 or Form 61). The purpose of this document is to provide the required attested invoice (GRA). It must be completed in triplicate in line with the instructions on the form and signed on the original by an authorised and responsible person. The signature must be witnessed. For prices contact an export documentation supplier such as Chancellor Formecon.


It is a legal requirement to show the full transaction price of the sale on the Commercial Invoice at export. There have been some instances of undervaluing of goods at import and the Customs Authorities are taking a strong line in combating this fraud.

Packing List

A packing list is required for Customs clearance containing marks, weights and dimensions and content details. No specific form required though generally should be in two copies.

Source: Croners