Import documentation required for customs purposes comprises: the bill of lading; certificate of origin; cargo release order; commercial invoice; packing list; customs import declaration; and technical standard/health or environmental certificate, where appropriate.
Prohibited imports include false or counterfeit money; indecent or obscene articles, matches containing white phosphorous; denatured spirits, unless duly certified; articles deceptively marked with Gambian coats of arms; advertisements for cures for cancer, tuberculosis or venereal/sexual diseases or complaints; distilled spirits containing specified essential oils or chemicals that are injurious to health; manufactures falsely labelled as of Gambian origin; firearms, ammunition etc., imported by post; goods that do not meet the Gambian Bureau of Standards requirements or that are certified by a public medical officer as hazardous to health; seditious, scandalous or immoral literature; waste and sludge deposits; any goods prohibited under the terms of any international convention to which The Gambia is a signatory; skimmed milk, if not clearly identified; any organic phosphorous compound; and 'exhausted' tea.
Imports of the following goods are conditionally restricted: tear gas and similar substances, and their propellants, other than permitted by the Minister of Interior; alcoholic spirits, unless certified as aged in wood for at least three years (however, no certificate is needed for bitters, liqueurs, cordials, gin, Geneva, hollands schnapps, rum, or spirits imported for medical, industrial or scientific purposes); postal franking machines, except as permitted by GAMPOST; Boy Scout or Girl Guide badges, except under permission of the relevant Commissioner; firearms silencers, except as permitted by the Minister of Interior; precious metals from Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea Conakry, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Niger, Mauritania, Cape Verde, except under permit from the Minister of Finance; used motor vehicles, except with official certificate of roadworthiness; machines for duplicating keys; handcuffs, except under licence by the Minister of Interior; live fish not native to The Gambia, except under licence by the Minister of Fisheries; and any goods prohibited under the terms of any international convention to which The Gambia is a signatory.
All imports of animals, marine life, plants, their products, and processed foods of plant or animal origin, must be accompanied by an import certificate issued in accordance with Codex Alimentarius quality control requirements. In addition, no food item may be imported into The Gambia without: a certificate from the manufacturer that it was manufactured in accordance with an existing standard or code of conduct pertaining to the product; or where such standard or code of conduct does not exist, any international standard laid down by the Codex Alimentarius Commission; or a certificate issued by the government of the exporting country that its sale in that country would not contravene the law.
Imports of cereals, pulses or legumes, including rice, require phytosanitary certificates issued by the national plant protection service of the country of origin, and fumigation certificates issued by the exporting company or an approved company.
The Banjul seaport plays an important role in the country’s economy and accounts for almost 90% of the country’s trade in terms of volume and weight. The Port was established in 1972 and plays a vital role in the trade and distribution of cargo to neighboring countries, some of which are landlocked, such as Mali, Guinea Bissau, Senegal and Guinea Conakry.