Container Shipping to Nigeria

Written by ma wen jie
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Container Shipping to Nigeria
Shipping containers are standard-sized steel containers. (container image by Marcus Scholz from

Nigeria is a country in west Africa that gained its independence from Great Britain in 1960. After 16 years of military rule, the nation transitioned peacefully to a civilian government in 1999. Nigeria's economy is primarily petroleum based. The country has a comparatively poor infrastructure. Goods being shipped to Nigeria include machinery, heavy equipment, consumer products and food. Container shipping is often the most cost-effective shipping method for exports to Nigeria.

Containerised Shipping

Containerised shipping uses standard-sized containers that are carried on ships specially designed to accommodate these containers. Although shipping containers were first used by the United States during World War II, the first commercial container operation began in 1956. The popularity of containerised shipping increased beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s. A number of shipping lines offer container service to Nigeria.


Standard container sizes commonly shipped to Nigeria are 20-foot and 40-foot containers. A 20-foot container is a single Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU). A 40-foot container is two TEUs. A 20-foot container can hold between 850 and 1050 cubic feet, depending on the design. A 40-foot container can hold between 1,850 and 2,200 cubic feet, depending on design. Nigerian container ports are outfitted to safely handle containers of these types.

Companies Shipping to Nigeria

A number of companies can arrange for container shipments to Nigeria. In addition to full 20- and 40-foot containers, some companies offer partial containers. These types of companies are often called "freight consolidators" because they consolidate partial container loads into full containers. When contacting a shipping company, ask for quotes that are portal to portal. In some cases, shipping companies may quote prices only to the destination port. The destination port in Nigeria is generally Lagos. Be sure to get a quote to get the container from the port to its eventual destination.


The cost of shipping a container will vary, depending on the season, size of the container and popularity of the route. Because the U.S. imports so much, many containers return to foreign destinations partially or completely empty. However, Nigeria is not a big exporting nation, so this may or may not be the case. In general, container costs can range from about £650 to nearly £2,600. In addition to container costs, a charge may be levied for transport of the container to the designated location for loading, processing the container through Nigerian customs, container storage at the destination and container delivery. In addition, a port fee may be assessed on a per-container basis. In most cases, the fee is about £162 for a 20-foot container and £162 for a 40-foot container.

Shipping Time

Container freighters are much faster than other types of freighters. The amount of time it will take for a container ship to reach Nigeria will depend on the U.S. port from which it leaves. Atlantic shipments usually take about two weeks once the freighter leaves port. Shipments originating from the Pacific Coast may take longer and may be more expensive. In some cases, arrangements to move a container to an Atlantic port by rail or truck may be cheaper than shipping from a Pacific port.

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