Connecting Gabon to the world

MSC has been serving customers from Gabon since 2011. From our office in Libreville, our team of 33 employees provide support for container shipments worldwide. MSC Gabon has experienced remarkable year-on-year growth. We hold a robust position with a 32% market share. 

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


Detention, demurrage, storage charges

What is detention?
Detention is the charge applicable, after the free time expires, inside the terminal for the use of the land. 

What is demurrage?
Demurrage is the charge applicable, after the free time expires, inside the terminal for the use of the land. 
 In case of a demurrage dispute, email (email subject: dispute + invoice number), describing the reasons for the dispute. 

Storage and plugging are payable directly to the Port Authority by the shipper

VGM receiving policy in Gabon

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, all marine terminals in Gabon are now allowed to use their certified scales to record Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of shipments.

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
  • Submission Date 
  • 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?

 Guidelines for submitting VGM instructions

  • MSC prefers to receive a Shipper-Verified Gross Mass (VGM) before cargo is delivered. 
  • Any Shipper of Record-signed VGM will override any VGM derived at or by the terminal.
  • All rail shipments must have the VGM submitted within 24 hours of the container gating in at the origin rail ramp, to avoid any extra fees levied by the terminal for weighing services. Late gates will only be considered for approval when a VGM is submitted by the Shipper of Record before 12:00 noon, local time, on the day of the cargo cut-off.
Note: locally, clients consume very much less that 24 hours in the submission of their VGMs.

MSC admin fees and costs 
  • Manual VGM Submission Fee (applies to email, fax, and inclusion on standard shipping instructions). 
  • Late VGM Submission Fee.
  • VGM Misdeclaration Fee.

NB: locally the fees and costs are not rightly implemented (some technical adaptations still ongoing); per different situations/cases, applicable to Client is defined.
Questions about VGM?

Contact our Customer Service team - /

Additional information

Additional information

  • Bills of Lading (BLs) function as a receipt of freight services, a contract between a freight carrier and shipper, and a document of title. The BL is a legally binding document that provides the details needed to process the freight shipment and invoice it correctly. In Gabon, BLs must be endorsed by shippers and a local Notify (see below) with a Gabonese address.
  • Restrictions & Requirements: 
    - For car/vehicle shipments to Libreville, it is mandatory to include the year (must be less than 5 years), brand and full chassis number.
    - For cargo in transit, the BL and cargo manifest must include "Cargo in Transit To". 
    - The BIETC number must be included in all matters related to split BL. 
    BL numbers with a letter at the end (usually an A) are no longer allowed by Customs. However, two or more BLS covering a single container are allowed as long as the numbers are clearly different.
  • Customs fines: Any Manifest corrector requested after vessel arrival or less than 72h before vessel arrival is subject to customs fines of USD 120 in addition to USD 60 for the documentation fee. Any Change of Destination for shipments booked from all ports to Libreville are subject to MSC Gabon’s approval for BIETC number checking and customs acceptance.
  • Manifest correctors: Any Manifest corrector regarding weight/packages and description less than 72 hours before vessel arrival are subject to a documentation fee of USD 60 plus USD 120 per customs amendment. However, changes to Shipper/Consignee/Notify after manifest validation are no longer allowed. In addition, any amendment/modification that may lead to additional fees are imparted not to the Port of Discharge , but to the request agency. For more information, email

  • Manifest deadlines: For all cargo to Gabon, a DTX file from the last transhipment port should be sent 24 hours prior to the vessel’s arrival.
  • Prohibited goods: The following goods are not authorised for shipments in Gabon: nuclear/radioactive products, waste, logs or vehicles over five years old (legislative decree n° 0551/PR/MTL only authorise the importation of vehicles aged less than five years). In case of non-compliance, cargo will be rejected by local authorities and agent(s) at POL will be responsible for any costs incurred. If you have any queries, please email or
  • Telex release: refers to a message that is sent by an agent or shipping line from the origin to the office at the customs destination. It can also be sent from an agent to signify that the shipper has already surrendered the O/BL issued to them. For help, contact:
  • Weight limitations are subject to container payload, while overweight and oversize are subject to management’s approval.

Country-specific customs regulations:

  • BIETC (cargo tracking number): A BIETC is mandatory for all cargo from or to Gabon. Visit for a usage guide and to register for an ID.

  • Certificate of conformity (CoC): A CoC has been mandatory for all shipments to Gabon since 2016. As CoCs are required for customs clearance, any cargo arriving in Gabon without the corresponding CoC will not be permitted to enter the country.

  • Reefer cargo: For all information regarding plugging, please visit this website.

  • Notify party: any shipment from Gabon must have a Notify party with an address in Gabon and a valid phone/fax number.

  • UAC: Cargo that is not cleared after three months is systematically seized and auctioned without notice.

Cut-off dates

Cut-off dates

The cut-off date is the last date that the container can be returned to the port terminal to meet the schedule.

  • For standard and reefer containers, the cut-off period is the same: 48 hours before arrival at berth.
  • The cut-off for VGM is 48 hours after arrival at berth.

VGM (Verified Gros Mass): 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.

VGM cut-off: the cut-off value is 48 hours after arrival at Berth.

Questions about CUT OFF?

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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.
Contact us 

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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Last update: 2024-07-14T12:48:00