The Autonomous Port of Cotonou has lifted the ban on the export of goods to Niger, according to an announcement from the port’s management dated Wednesday, December 27, 2023. However, containers unloaded cannot enter Niger through the Benin borders, which remain closed as part of the ECOWAS economic sanctions.
This action should not be interpreted as a lifting of the ECOWAS economic sanctions, as clarified by the Beninese authorities.
Officially, the export ban to Niger, implemented in October, was explicit: containers were piling up at the port. Despite the ECOWAS sanctions, there were still orders for Niger, leading to up to 90% congestion in storage spaces, according to port authorities.
The port then initiated decongestion efforts and claims to have freed up 30% of space today, stating that it is now able to permit imports for Niger.
Goods destined for Niger constitute 80% of the transit volume at the Port of Cotonou.
At the onset of the sanctions, some importers with blocked containers consumed their goods in Benin. Others bypassed Benin’s borders by going through Burkina Faso.