Nigeria - Country Commercial Guide
Logistics Sector
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Total Market size: Logistics








Total Exports of Goods





Total Imports of Goods





Imports from the U.S.





Total Market Size 





Exchange Rate:  1 USD





Data Sources:  Total Local Production: Estimates from Industry Contacts

Total Exports: National Bureau of Statistics

Total Imports:  CEIC Data

Imports from U.S.:  UN Comtrade

The logistics and supply chain sectors are one of the fastest growing industries in Nigeria, though still in need of development in several key areas. As of 2018, the value of Nigeria’s logistics sector was estimated to be $584 million (250 billion naira), a rise of $117 million (50 billion naira) from 2017 figures. This was according to the 2018 Logistics and Supply Chain Industry report as reported by Vanguard.

In 2020, Nigeria was ranked 131 out of 190 countries in its Ease of Doing Business, and 110 in the Logistics Performance Index. The current growth in Nigeria’s logistics is due to infrastructure development in railways and airways, improvement in ties with other countries, development in manufacturing and export sectors, and the rise of e-commerce and logistics applications.

Challenges to the sector include, a huge infrastructure deficit, government policies that undermine ease of doing business, poor road network, unstable electricity, entrenched corruption, and multiple taxation.  With local stakeholders unable to meet financial obligations, costs transfer to end-users, making them uncompetitive. Foreign-owned operators with the financial capabilities to absorb higher levels of business risk can better survive these conditions.

Another problem is the inefficiency of seaports and customs services at all ports of entry.  Customs clearance is slow, manual, and fraught with discretion of the agents. This protracted process significantly increases the time goods remain at ports or at sea to undergo inspection, increasing operating costs.

Infrastructure is critical to any logistics and supply chain development objective. The health of available infrastructure and level of integration directly impacts logistics access, cycle-time, reliability, and cost.  Maintaining a competitive logistics and supply chain ecosystem requires a constant and strategic upgrade of regional infrastructure.  The sector also demands high performing government institutions, financing, and industry skills. Logistics can therefore be attributed to be the main indicator of economic advancement expressed boldly in trade facilitation and business competitiveness. Unfortunately, there are substantial regional and national deficits in Nigeria’s logistics infrastructure which negatively impacts competitiveness.

Nigeria is an import heavy economy with potential for growth requiring a renewed focus on infrastructural development. Given the vast nature of the logistics sector, local and foreign operators require coordinated resources to engage the government to improve the overall infrastructure network in Nigeria.

To ensure innovation within the infrastructure development cycle of logistics and supply chain, Nigeria requires a national logistics strategy focused on the following areas: transportation and distribution industry, transport and distribution workforce, road infrastructure, road congestion, road conditions, interstate highway access, vehicle taxes and fees, railroad access, water port access, and air cargo access.

A survey conducted by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry indicates that the Nigerian economy lost an estimated annual revenue of $8.1 billion (3.46 trillion naira) due to poor infrastructure, poor implementation, and corruption at the ports. Of this number, $5.8 billion (2.5 trillion naira) are corporate earnings losses across the various sectors of the economy. According to the report, profit margins of corporate entities using some of the country’s key infrastructure, namely the Apapa port, have gradually dwindled as logistics costs increased.

In Nigeria, there are several local and foreign private sector companies operating in the logistics industry, including Red Star Express (partner to FedEx), United Parcel Service (UPS), and DHL. The government of Nigeria regulator, the Nigerian Postal Service (NPS), regulates the activities of stakeholders while simultaneously operating the Nigerian Post Office (NIPOST), a courier delivery service which competes with the private sector courier operators. A bill pending as of December 2022 would overhaul the postal sector and separate the postal operator from the postal regulator. However, several other aspects of this bill are concerning to the postal sector, including double taxation and a monopoly-granting provisions.

Nigeria’s bilateral and multilateral agreements with various countries, along with its involvement in initiatives, such as Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), are expected to improve trade and grow the sector if adequately implemented. With the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Nigeria now has free access to the entire African market, thereby improving the trade between the neighboring countries and impacting the logistics sector in the future. Implementation is, again, key for reaping these benefits.

Due to the recession in 2016-17, the Nigerian government banned access to foreign exchange for import of 43 products with the aim of boosting local manufacturing and industrial units, as well as to support the agricultural sector, which requires a functioning logistics network to boost the nation’s economy.

Given the huge presence of industrial parks and the proximity to seaports and airports, the majority of the warehouses are situated in Lagos. With the developing manufacturing industry and increasing demands for logistics, some companies have entered the sector recently like Dangote, Vicampro Farm, BlackPace, and Kiremko.  97.09% of total exports from Nigeria were transported through the waterways. This was followed by air transportation (2.61%), road transport (0.13%), and other forms of transport (0.17%). Similar statistics were recorded for commodity imports into Nigeria: water transport at 88.4%, air transport at 11.17%, and road transport at 0.4%.

In Q1 2021, the bulk of export transactions were conducted through Apapa port, with goods valued at $6 billion (2.58 trillion naira) or 88.91% of total exports. This was followed by Port Harcourt, which recorded $391 billon (7.29 billion naira) or 5.75%.  Muhammed Murtala International Airport recorded $176 million (75.4 billion naira).

In terms of imports, Apapa Port also recorded the highest transactions valued at $6.8 billion (2.92 trillion naira), or 42.73% of total imports. This was followed by Tin Can Island $2.8 billion (1.2 trillion naira), or 17.95%; Port Harcourt at $1.6 billion (691.7 billion naira), or 10.10%; and Muhammed Murtala International Airport with $1.5 billion (625.7 billion naira), or 9.13%.


Technologies such as GPS tracking and control towers have yet to gain traction in Nigeria, which poses an opportunity for U.S. companies with the competence and technical skillsets to close the gap in the market. Other upcoming technologies include real-time fuel management systems, warehousing management systems, cargo management systems, and communication and information systems such as electronic data interchange (EDI) which can be used to reduce paperwork and minimize the time taken for compliance procedures. 

Nigeria recently completed the construction of $1.5 billion Lekki Deep Sea Port and has received approval from the federal government to commence the construction of the Lekki Lagos Airport on a 3,000-hectare plot. The Lekki Airport, to be constructed around the Lekki Free Zone (LFZ), is expected to assist manufacturers and other business owners within the zone to transport their products abroad. This project will alleviate the traffic at the Apapa port by creating additional logistics routes within the Lagos state.

The Nigeria Special Economic Zones Investment Company is currently raising capital of $250 million from various lenders to develop free trade zones in Katsina, Abia, and Lagos states which will fill the demand gap in the economy.

In the last 10 years, online shopping has become common in Nigeria and changed the landscape in how Nigerians shop. Online shopping and platform providers have provided easy and seamless access to all kinds of local and international items. The online shopping sub-sector generated revenue of about $4.88 billion in 2019, with expected annual growth of 20.5% in the period of 2019-2023, resulting in a market volume of around $10.2 billion by 2023. The revenue of the Nigerian e-commerce sector, in 2021, grew by 30% to $6.9 billion and is expected to reach $8.52 billion by 2023. User penetration within the sector is expected to reach 52% by 2025.

Online shopping trends in 2019 showed that the fashion industry led with a transaction volume of $1.76 billion and user penetration of 52.2%. This is expected to reach 75.2% by 2023. With the ease of payments through mobile money, debit cards, electronic wallets, and other payment modes increasing, increasing access to internet is expected to help this sector grow further and give a boost to the logistics and freight market.

2021 eCommerce Revenue by Segment:

  • Fashion – 35%
  • Electronics and Media – 28%
  • Furniture and Appliances – 17%
  • Food and Personal Care – 11%
  • Toys, Hobby, & DIY – 9%

Data Sources: 

Total Local Production: Industry contacts, Nigerian Postal Service, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC)

Total Exports: Industry sources

Total Imports: Leading importers, distributors, and industry associations.