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All You Need To Know About Shipping A Barrel To Jamaica

The practice of packing and shipping barrels to jamaica from migrants to their loved ones has been common place for years . But how many people stop to think that there is actually right way to pack and prepare a barrel, and what is entailed in clearing that barrel once it gets to Jamaica .

So if you are shipping a barrel to Jamaica, continue reading because we have prepared  a little insight into what is involved in the entire process which we hope will be useful to you.

Packing the barrel

  1. First it is a good practice to sort all items according to their type. This will allow you to get a better idea of the quantity and how you need to pack them.
  2. Before putting fragiles in the barrel ensure they are wrapped and protected .
  3. Although its common sense to pack all canned goods and firmer items at the base (this includes hard cardboard boxes) many people forget how important this is . Its important to build that strong base that can withstand goods loaded on top. Any food stuff  can now be wrapped securely, preferably in plastic,  and packed on  this firm base.
  4. Items packed in plastic is preferred to items packaged in glass so always try to get items packed in plastic to limit the chance of breakage. All bottles caps should be wrapped with tape ( so as to minimize the chance of the cork unscrewing and spilling its contents) and placed in plastic bags before placing them  in the barrel.

Additionally if you have to have glass then you may use towels and soft items such as tissue paper and any other soft, cushioning materials, to pack around the bottles giving them that extra protection.

  1. Now its always a good idea for clothing and other fabric to  be placed at the top of the barrel, preferably in plastic bags to prevent damage from spillage.
  2. Scented items, such as bath soaps, should be placed on top, away from dry goods and food items,  Can you imagine eating a rice meal tasting like Chanel. If you are shipping more than one barrel, or if you have small boxes  you can separate these items, putting them in separate containers.

How to label your barrel

Now lets look at another important aspect to shipping your barrel and that is labelling. Correct labelling eliminates errors and speeds up the entire shipping process. Incorrectly labelled cargo may result in shipment delays not to mention create problems with handlers and Customs at destination. Bear in mind that your barrel is just one of many that the shipping company has to deal with in the one shipment …well you get the picture


  • Label barrel/shipment with the correct name and address of your consignee at destination, include phone number if deemed necessary.


  • when labelling the barrel be sure to do so on  the top and on the sides of barrel/shipment, so that they are clearly identifiable. Also write your name and address as the shipper of the barrel/shipment. You can do this much like you would address a letter.

Fill out a “Shipper Letter of Instructions” sheet and include a detailed packing list, keep all your purchase receipts until your shipment has safely arrived and delivered to its final destination.

Double check that the information that is on your documents is the same as on the actual barrel/shipment customs can be very particular about this sort of thing.

This small oversight may cause customs to want to unpack the entire barrel to confirm the contents so be careful with this aspect.

Remember to seal your barrel with the seal you will receive from your shipping agent. Note that there is a serial number assigned to this seal so make a note of it on your dock receipt, you will need that information later

Boxes should be properly reinforced and taped and pallets should be shrink wrapped and preferably strapped for protection of the cargo.

It is a requirement that all wood packaging material destined for Jamaica must be Heat Treated and ISPM 15 certified.

Planning your shipment

Always plan ahead for your shipping so that your shipment arrives at destination in a timely manner to meet your needs, specially during peak periods .

Have shipment delivered or picked up in time to make the scheduled sailing. Avoid waiting for the last minute. The earlier goods are received it stands to reason that the earlier they will be processed to be shipped.

  1. The busy months for shipping are March/April (Easter), June/July/August (festivals/Carnivals/Independence/back to school) and, the busiest season of all, Christmas. Plan wisely for these shipping times so that you are never caught in the last minute rush.
  2. Make your Purchases in the weeks and months before you are ready to ship. It is always a good idea to choose a target arrival date (at destination) and from there choose the shipping date.

>When shipping or air freighting your goods from abroad make sure that:

• shipping/airline documents are obtained from the shipping/airline agent abroad;

• you know the freight agent or shipping company in Jamaica who is responsible for handling your goods when they arrive.

Be sure to take the Bill Of  Lading , Airway Bill so as to clear your goods through customs


Cost to ship your barrel and how long it takes to reach Jamaica


Country Barrel Shipping From $ Approx Cost to Ship # Average Time To Reach
United States 50 to 100 USD 7 to 14 days
United Kingdom 80 to 100 USD 14 to 21 days
Canada 50 to 100 USD 14 to 21 days

The above values are approximate and depend on many different variables like  the actual shipper , if there are delays etc.

Also note that the figures quoted do not include the various fees such as handling charge which can range between $2500 and just under $4000 .

It is also important that you clear your barrel without delay because most shippers only allow you seven days free there after you will be required to pay anywhere from $40 to $200 per day for storage depending on the shipper you used..

And of course dont forget your  customs duties which should be about $6500.

Ok so now you should have a fair idea on how much money to walk with when going to clear your barrel.



If your goods are personal and household effects and do not exceed a Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF) value of US$3000 or the Jamaican equivalent, then you may proceed to the wharf, airport or private warehouse to clear your goods.

customs has now tried to make it easy for you to process and clear your shipment through customs and the simplified steps can be found here 5 easy steps to clear your barrel


Clearing a barrel through customsTake all your documents such as Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN), valid identification (driver’s licence, passport or voter’s ID), Invoice, Bill of Lading or Air Way Bill, C27 form, C78X form (not required if items are not dutiable or value US$100 or less) or C86 to the Customs Manifest Branch, at the clearance point. The Manifest Clerk or Officer will process and stamp the baggage declaration form and return the documents to you 

  1. Present all documents to the Customs Officer on duty and await his/her instructions. You should be ready to open your baggage for inspection when told to do so.If, after inspection, it is determined that no duty is payable, the Customs Officer will issue a Customs Release. If it is determined that duties are payable the Customs Officer will direct you to the Customs Cashier to pay the necessary duties and fees. On your return after paying the duties and fees, the Customs Officer will issue the Customs Release.

Persons to whom packages have been sent from overseas:

  1. Take your Arrival Notice, Bill of Lading or Airway Bill and identification to the freight agent who is responsible for receiving and handling your goods.The freight agent will process your papers and collect all fees due to them (not customs fees) and advise you when and where (wharf or warehouse) the package(s) will be available for inspection by Customs.3. Take your documents (including Customs Forms C78X and C86 ) to the wharf or warehouse at the appropriate time and present them to the clerk in the Customs Manifest Branch .

After you have collected your shipping documents from the shipping agent and paid the relevant handling and/storage fees

proceed to the warehouse where your barrel or package is  stored.

If you have an unaccompanied baggage form c27 (yellow form) from the airport  you must present it along with your TRN and your passport to the customs officer

At the warehouse you must present your shipping documents ie your bill of lading and your arrival notice to the security and wait for your barrel to be located and brought out for inspection

Once located, the Customs Officer will instruct you to open and unpack the barrel or package for inspection

You will then be directed to the customs cashier to make payment.After you ha After you have paid you then take the release order to the warehouse operator who will then issue a gate pass to you

If your barrel contains only personal effects and non commercial items then a flat rate of $6500 is applicable

If You Are Clearing A barrel For Someone

If you are clearing a barrel for someone you must present

  • an authorization letter which is signed and stamped by a justice of the peace
  • Along with the consignee”s tax registration number (trn) and a valid passport .

Once you have all of these, you can go ahead and present them to Customs.


Ok so now that you have cleared your barrel how do you get it to your destination?

Well there are usually trucks and vans on the outside of the port who will be more than willing to transport your precious cargo.

They usually have rates which they charge however  these rates can vary depending on how you look, if you have an accent etc. one thing is sure though, be prepared to negotiate because sometimes you will get an artificially high rate because  the vehicle operator is expecting you to haggle  about the price .

All you need to do now is choose  the one that best suits your needs,budget and schedule.

Hope the foregoing has helped you, be sure to check back as we revise the content periodically as things change.


Comments (26)

  1. Aug 06, 2017 at 18:16 pm

    Cani I ship a box with clothing

    1. Aug 07, 2017 at 15:50 pm

      Hi Janet, yes we can . if you like i can have the shipping department get in touch with you

  2. Aug 03, 2017 at 07:21 am

    Is shipping a barel from Los Angeles California to Montego Bay substantially more than from Miami? I’ve been told it’s likely twice as expensive.

    1. Aug 03, 2017 at 21:59 pm

      yes LV actually it is more expensive from California to Jamaica than it is from Miami to Jamaica . Lets face it the distance is signicantly greater

  3. Jul 21, 2017 at 13:30 pm

    When shipping barrels or any other item(s), it is important to remember that the freight cost is only one part of the entire cost of the shipment. You should also consider
    -the customs and port fees at the origin port
    -customs, port, agency and handling fees at the destination port
    -clearance and delivery fees, if using a clearing agent. (If the value of your shipment, including the freight, insurance and value of the items, totals more than US$5000.00, you will be required to use a customs broker to clear).

  4. Jul 20, 2017 at 22:52 pm

    Does Kingston wharf and other private shipping companies charge the same for collecting a barrel??

    1. Jul 22, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      Hi Simone.
      The wharf or port fees are different from the private shipping company fees. Kingston Wharves, Kingston Freeport Terminal (KFTL), Montego Bay Freeport and the airports each set their fees for using their terminals.

      The private shipping companies (freight forwarder, broker, etc.) charge fees to carry out the various documentation and clearing processes for you to get your shipment.

      The fees that are paid to the ports and to the private companies are separate and apart from the customs duties, taxes and admin fees. The customs fees that you might be charged are the same at all ports, depending on what you are importing.

  5. Jul 20, 2017 at 15:59 pm

    Will be coming to collect a barrel at the whaft.kingston.that my mom sent .I would like to know about how much money should I walk with .its personal item (foods).and what identification should I bring.also can u tell the steps.first I will be coming to the whaft.thank u.

    1. Jul 22, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      Hi Nicole
      You need a government issued photo ID. You will also need to have the shipping documents in your name. You will not be allowed on the port without proper ID, nor on the berth if the documents are not in your name. Anyone accompanying you must meet the same criteria. There is a waiting area outside of the berth for those who cannot go on.

      At the wharf, you will need to go to the Kingport Building to get your documents checked and stamped. If there are any issues, you will be notified there. After that is done, you would proceed to the berth (usually berth 5 or berth 6). It is advisable to wear cool, proper clothing and comfortable shoes.

      You will go to the berth office and present your documents an officer who will give you further instructions. What usually happens then is that your barrel will be located, stripped, examined and repacked. In most cases the consignee (you) will be asked to carry out the physical work. Afterwards the officer will make an assessment which will determine your duties and taxes, if any.

      Without knowing whether or not your items are dutiable or taxable, I can only suggest that you prepare for about $10,000.00 per barrel. The average fee payable is $6500.00 per barrel. Please keep in mind that this does not include transportation cost.

  6. Jul 15, 2017 at 00:51 am

    What if u are not in Jamaica when goods arrived how much would have hey charge u for two weeks in warehouse

    1. Jul 16, 2017 at 03:13 am

      well to answer that question we would need more information like how many barrels (thats if you are talking about barrels) and which warehouse your barrels are shipped to . storage rates differ

  7. Jul 09, 2017 at 02:52 am

    into and out of Jamaica

  8. Jun 30, 2017 at 21:18 pm

    Ho. Do you ship from Cincinnati, Ohio?

    1. Jul 06, 2017 at 15:26 pm

      yes we ship worldwide

  9. Jun 28, 2017 at 00:46 am

    if you fly in to montego bay can you pick up your custom form in montego bay to clear your barrels in kingston?

    1. Jun 30, 2017 at 15:44 pm

      Hi Donald. You may pick up your allowance form (yellow) from any airport of arrival. If you shipped your barrels with a particular agent, you will need to pick up your bill of lading from that agent’s local office, wherever they are located.

  10. Jun 03, 2017 at 19:34 pm

    Great information thanks

    1. Jun 04, 2017 at 16:56 pm

      You are most welcome

  11. May 31, 2017 at 14:03 pm

    I’m so enlightened on this subject ! Thanks for this useful information ! I can now proceed to get my barrel off .

    1. Jun 01, 2017 at 19:09 pm

      You are welcome June . We are always here to help

  12. May 30, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Didn’t know you can do that, thanks Lee. Will use next time

  13. May 10, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Get the sales tax refunded on items purchased in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom: http://www.vacationtaxrefund.com/united-states-sales-tax-refund/

  14. Apr 21, 2017 at 18:55 pm

    Not sure if that 6500.00 is the total cost at the customs or is it just a portion

    1. Apr 23, 2017 at 08:11 am

      Hi Ava That fee is a flat rate that customs charges to clear your barrel, however the bonded warehouse and the shipper will have their own charges.These are separate from the customs duties.

  15. Mar 11, 2017 at 23:44 pm

    Very good information indeed. Thanks.

    1. Mar 23, 2017 at 14:24 pm

      glad we were able to help.

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