Connecting  Djibouti to the world

MSC is serving customers in Djibouti and Ethiopia more than 3 decades. At present, MSC calls two main services, namely Petra Service an NWC to IPAK service to Djibouti. MSC holds 2nd highest overall market share in Djibouti.  Since Djibouti is the gateway port to Ethiopia, more than 70% of imports discharged in Djibouti are destined to Ethiopia and 94% of exports loaded from Djibouti are originated from Ethiopia.

  • Awarded by Djibouti Ports & Free Zone Authority  for  the Best Performing  Shipping Agent of the year 2020.


Contact our  team to request a quote, book or find out more about our local services


Detention, demurrage, Per Diem and storage charges

What is detention?
Detention is the charge applicable, after the free time expires, for the use of the carrier’s full container inside the marine terminal, railroad facilities or container yard. This charge can also apply while the container is in terminal yard.   

What is demurrage?
Demurrage is the charge applicable, after the free time expires, inside the terminal for the use of MSC containers. 
In case of a demurrage dispute, email: (email subject: Dispute + BL number, Invoice Number), describing the reasons for your dispute. 
What are storage charges?
A storage charge is applicable, after the free time expires, for containers left inside the container yard (for the use of the land).

Detention and demurrage: updated payment policy 
Please note that Finance Department will no longer accept written guarantees to release shipments from Detention and Demurrage hold. 
The following options are available for release of shipment: 
· For immediate release, payment must be submitted by cheque or Cash or bank transfer. 
· The shipment will be released ONLY after funds are cleared. 

SOLAS VGM information for Djibouti

What is VGM?

Verified Gross Mass or VGM refers to the exact, verified weight of a packed container. For safety reasons, vessel operators can only load a container if its weight has been verified.

In line with SOLAS (Safety of Lives at Sea) regulations, marine terminal in Djibouti is now allowed to use their certified scales to record Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of shipments. No VGM no loading.

What do I need to include in my VGM instructions?

You must include the following on all VGM instructions:

  • Booking or Bill of Lading (BL) number
  • Container number
  • VGM + weight measurement unit (lbs. or kgs.)
  • Responsible Party Name
  • Digital signature of the authorized signatory in all CAPITAL LETTERS.

How can I submit my VGM instructions?

  • Manually  (via email)

Guidelines for submitting your VGM instructions

  • MSC prefers to receive a Shipper-Verified Gross Mass (VGM) before cargo is delivered. This helps to avoid any unexpected weighing charges being levied against the cargo at Djibouti, which will be billed to the Shipper of Record.
  • Any Shipper of Record-signed VGM will override any VGM derived at or by the terminal.
  • For truck delivery, the ultimate deadline for VGM submission will be 48 hours prior vessel arrival.
  • For stuffing inside terminal VGM cut off is 5 days prior vessel arrival.
  • “NO VGM – No loading”.  

Prohibited cargo


  • IMCO class 7 is prohibited but accepted on case by case basis subject to prior approval that should be obtained by the consignee and the consignee should take direct delivery.
  • Below cargo is not allowed to discharge in Djibouti in transit to Yemen and Somalia.
  • IMCO class 1.4 prohibited discharging at Djibouti in transit to Yemen
  • Ammonium Nitrate - IMCO Class 5.1/ UN No. 1942, 2067, 2071, 2880
  • All Types of acids - IMCO Class 8/ All UN Numbers
  • Calcium Carbide - IMCO Class 4.3/ UN no. 1402
  • Vehicles over 8 years of age are not allowed to import to Djibouti.
  • Any kind of narcotics.


  • Metal scrap originating from Djibouti. 

Cargo Restrictions 

Cargo restrictions by the terminal and customs

Used vehicles
Vehicles more than 8 years old are prohibited for importing to Djibouti local discharge but if the consignee is in Ethiopia, there is no such restriction.

Out of gauge cargo
Out of Gauge Cargo (OOG cargo) more than 4.0 meters in height and 4.0 meters in width are not allowed to discharge or load at Djibouti terminal.

Dangerous cargo direct deliveries
Below mentioned dangerous cargo are allowed at terminal subject to direct delivery. Consignee should arrange customs clearance and truck should be ready at terminal at least 1 hour before cargo to be discharged. Failing which container will not be discharged and re-loaded to same stowage position and cost will be on account of the shipper or the consignee.  

IMO Class 1 all UN numbers
IMO Class 2.1/ UN 1.57, Flammable gases and Gas Lighters
IMO Class 2.3 / Toxic Gases
IMO Class 3/ Flammable Liquids Flash Point below 23C
IMO Class 4.1/ UN number 1944 Safety Matches, Flammable Solids, Self-Heating Substances, Self-Reactive Substances
 IMO Class 4.3/ Water reactive Substances, Liquids and Solids
IMO Class 5.1/ UN Number 1448 Oxidizing Agents, Barium Permanganate UN Number 1485, Potassium Chlorate UN Number 1495, Sodium Chlorate UN Number 1513, Zinc Chlorate UN Number 1492, Ammonium Nitrate UN number 2067, 2071, Ammonium Nitrate Fertilizers UN Number 2880, Calcium Hypochlorite.
IMO Class 5.1/ Organic Peroxides
IMO Class 6.1/ UN Number 2994, Arsenical pesticides, Liquid, Toxic and Toxic by Inhalation Substances.
IMO Class 6.2/ Generally Not allowed. Special Permission must be obtained from the Harbour Master and the Department of Dangerous Cargo Port Authority. 
IMO Class 7/ Radioactive Material (Transport License required) Only allowed at Terminal Authorized by the Harbour Master.
IMO Class 8/ Corrosive, UN Number 2031, 2032, Nitric Acid.

As per new regulations that took effect in January 2021, the following IMCO classes are allowed to discharge under special authorization on a case-by-case basis subject to direct delivery by the consignee.

Below mentioned dangerous cargo is not allowed to discharge at Djibouti and in transit to Yemen and Somalia.

There is no restriction for cargo discharge in Djibouti as the final destination and cargo in transit to Ethiopia. Before accepting bookings, therefore, POL should verify with the shipper and MSC Djibouti office and ensure the actual correct destination of cargo to accept or reject bookings accordingly. If any POL accepts the below-mentioned dangerous cargo without verification by MSC Djibouti and the terminal refuses to handle the shipment, it will be loaded back to the respective POL and all related costs will be charged to the agency of the relevant POL.

IMO Class 4.3/ UN Number 1402
IMO Class 5.1/ UN Number 1942, 2067, 2071, 2880
IMO Class 8/ All UN Numbers.

Un-declared IMDG containers without dangerous goods labels: If it is the first time, a USD 566 per container fine will be imposed by the terminal to the shipping line. If repeated in the same year the charge will be USD 1,414 per container.

Export Guidelines

Online booking and shipping instruction

Please visit our online platform to submit bookings and Shipping instructions which enhances prompt services electronically. 

In case  if you are facing any challenges while  registering  and creating bookings in platform, our export documentation team is ready to assist you and can be reached via  email :

HS Code - Harmonized Commodity Code

Six Digits Harmonized Commodity Code (HS Code) is mandatory to declare in booking level and in Shipping instructions by the shippers to manifest accordingly.

Cargo cut off time for export bookings

Booking and Verified Gross Mass (VGM) cut off – 5 days prior vessel arrival
FCL cut off time - 48hours prior vessel arrival.

Out of gauge cargo (OOG)

If a booking is for OOG cargo, customers are required to provide following information.

Lashing Survey report should be provided prior container is gate into the terminal.
Dimensions of cargo (Length, width, and height of cargo) should be provided when planning the booking.

Weight of cargo

Dangerous Cargo bookings

If a booking is Dangerous cargo or Hazardous cargo, customers are required to provide the following information at booking level.

  • Proper Shipping Name
  • IMO Class
  • UN Number
  • Duly filled, signed and stamped Multimodal Dangerous goods Form. 
  • Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) 
  • Packing list and Commercial Invoice 

Shipper’s Own Containers (SOC)

If a booking is for SOC container, customers are required to provide following information at booking level.

Shipper has to provide to MSC Manifesting Agency a written notice confirming that:

  • He is the owner of the container OR
  • If he is not the owner of the container; a letter from the owner of the container stating that he has allowed the shipper to "load container numbers xxx as SOC with MSC".
  • Container has a valid CSC plate.
  • Container  should be ISO standard.
  • SOC Request Form has been duly filled by shipper.
  • SOC containers must not have unauthorized prefix.
  • SOC containers must not have “MSC owned” prefix.

SOC Empty Tank Containers

If a booking is for Empty Tank Container, customers are required to provide following information at booking level in addition to the above information.

  • Gas free Certificate 
  • Residue free certificate 

Mandatory Refundable Security Deposit 

It is mandatory for the consignees and shippers to pay refundable security deposit for containers  that moves out from terminal and the  deposit amount collected will be refunded once containers are returned to terminal.

  Standard Containers USD

Flat rack Containers USD

Open Top Containers USD

Reefer Containers USD

Deposit Amount (In USD)  20'  40'  20'  40'  20'  40'  20'  40'
 Local Cargoes  2,500  5,000  5,000 9,000 5,000 9,000  25,000  28,000
 For Djibouti Free Zone  2,500 5,000 5,000 9,000 5,000 9,000 25,000 28,000
 Cargo  in Transit to Ethiopia, Somalia or Yemen  3,500  7,000  5,000 9,000 5,000  7,000  25,000  28,000

List of terminals 

Ports and terminals

MSC operates services to and from the following  terminal.

 Port of Loading  Terminal 1  
 Djibouti  SGTD

Cargo Loading

MSC's cargo handling facilities are strategically located to ensure the efficient and timely loading of goods for export and import. We also provide cargo consolidation, loading and re-loading, packing, unpacking and cross-loading services from containers to trucks.
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Container Weighing (VGM)

All MSC local offices provide certified scales to record and verify container weight (verified gross mass or VGM) in line with Safety of Lives at Sea (SOLAS) regulations. VGM instructions are mandatory for all shipments for safety reasons and vessel operators can only load a container if its weight has been appropriately verified. Contact your local MSC team for more information and support. 

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