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Cote d'Ivoire - X-ray scanning containers for better customs control

With the help of Bureau Veritas, we are confident that our container scanning program will continue to be a success.
Gnamien Konan,

Director of Customs, Republic of Côte d'Ivoire


After periods of civil disturbance, the Côte d'Ivoire government needed to reinforce the country’s economy. One way was to modernize customs control. The Ministry of Finance wanted to encourage international trade, while also making sure that correct import duties and taxes are paid. To achieve these goals, the government focused on the country’s sea ports, especially its main port in Abidjan. To attract trade, it was important to make the ports more efficient and secure. New customs and security systems were needed to maximize revenues and also to prevent illegal trade.


The government decided to implement a scanner for inspecting imported goods inside containers at the port of Abidjan. To install and operate the scanner, Bureau Veritas (through its subsidiary dedicated to facilitating trade, Bivac) was chosen because of its strong technical expertise. The government invested in the most modern scanner available. There are only two others like it in the world: one on the UK side of the Channel Tunnel, the other at the port of Marseille. It is bigger than other scanners, and can be used to inspect two 40-foot containers at the same time. Up to 30 containers can be checked every hour. The scanner is extremely sensitive. For example, trained staff can look at the color x-ray image and see the difference between a new and a used car tire. Another example: they can count exactly how many computers are inside a container, then compare with the number of computers declared on transport documents. If extra tax or duty needs to be paid, it can be decided almost instantly. As a result, illegal or undeclared items can be found quickly and easily. The Bureau Veritas team works closely with Customs officials. A certificate is given to each container that passes the scanning. Customs can then authorize the container. About 50 Bureau Veritas staff are based at the Port of Abidjan, with two teams of 6 people who are trained to analyze the images.


The new scanner began operating in early 2006. There are many advantages. Imported goods are now being cleared by Customs more quickly. The port of Abidjan is able to serve more customers in less time. It is building a reputation for being more modern, secure and efficient. The systems are now in place to increase revenues from import duties and taxes. Information about containers and the goods they carry is shared with Customs in a quick, efficient way. Bureau Veritas is working in close partnership with the Customs Department to provide a reliable and effective service.

Contact us

Bureau Veritas - Government Services Division

Phone: +33 1 42 91 69 00

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> Client: Ministry of Finance, Republic of Côte d'Ivoire

> Client industry: Customs

> Client size:
- Imports $3.36 billion FOB* 
- Exports $5.124 billion FOB*
- GDP $24.78 billion
*Free on board. 2004 estimates.

> Client profile: The Ministry of Finance is putting tighter controls on imports to ensure correct duties and taxes are paid. In a country that depends mostly on agriculture, such extra revenues are important for the economy.

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