SHIPPING TO THE CARIBBEAN

The Caribbean is a large area consisting of more than 700 islands and 30 territories, which has the potential to greatly expand your company’s reach within North America.

*It’s always a good idea to keep in mind that, since Caribbean nations are islands, shipments will first be sent by ground or air, and then will be transferred to a ship to complete the remainder of the voyage by sea. If your shipment is sent first by truck, your rate will be based on the weight and freight class, which will then be calculated by volume for the ocean portion.

Whether you are shipping heavy equipment, machinery, electronics, art, antiques, or furniture, Pack and Post is your US to Caribbean shipping company! We have been shipping to the Caribbean for 30 years, and we know our business!

Our US-CARIBBEAN Shipping Services

  • Fast Shipping Quotes
  • Freight Shipping – Save up to 75%!
  • Packing and Crating
  • Small Parcel Shipping
  • Insurance
  • Consulting

Need to ship something inside the Caribbean, from the Caribbean to the US, or from the Caribbean to another international destination? We can handle that too!

Items we can ship to the Caribbean

  • Heavy Equipment – including construction, mining, farm equipment, and more
  • Machinery and Electronics
  • Art and Antiques
  • Household goods and personal effects
  • Furniture
  • You name it!

Shipping to the Caribbean – by Country

There are a total of 41 countries with the Caribbean, and shipping to each of them can entail slightly different requirements. Please choose your destination country from the list below for more detailed information.

Pending Country List.

Shipping Companies – Parcel Couriers

Here is a list of companies that ship small parcels to the Caribbean. Each company has their own strengths and weaknesses, and different rules and requirements. Let Pack and Post help you select the best carrier for your particular shipment.

FedEx

FedEx International provides a wide variety of small parcel shipping options to many countries within the Caribbean, including mail delivery.

FedEx International offers three primary options for small parcel shipping to the Caribbean, including fastest-possible delivery through FedEx International Next Flight and First®, one, two, or three-day service through FedEx International Priority, and within five days through FedEx International Economy.

If you’re concerned whether FedEx International delivers to a specific country within the Caribbean, be sure to take a look at their list of countries served. Since your parcel will be entering another country, FedEx International’s Tools and Resources page can be an invaluable resource for everything from regional highlights to document preparation.

UPS

For small parcel shipments from the U.S. to the Caribbean, UPS provides a solid range of delivery options. These include best available flight through UPS Express Critical, and 1-3 business days through UPS Worldwide Express, Worldwide Express Plus, and UPS Worldwide Saver. An additional option includes 2-5 business days through UPS Worldwide Expedited. Keep in mind that UPS charges any associated brokerage fees, duties, and taxes directly to the importer.

Be sure to check the UPS import guidelines before sending anything.

While UPS does not offer document assistance, they do provide an in-depth explanation of how to fill out some of the most common documents in their International Shipping Guide. UPS also offers several useful tools for managing your shipments to the Caribbean, including UPS TradeAbility and their free WorldShip software.

DHL

DHL has a great reputation when shipping items from the United States to a wide variety of international countries, including the Caribbean. In fact, the company recently announced they have improved delivery services within the region.

DHL offers three Caribbean shipping options, based on how fast you need the items to arrive: Same Day, Time Definite, and Day Definite. *Note: Day Definite service is only available for mail.

DHL also provides numerous Optional Services for shipping parcels to the Caribbean, including, Remote Area Service and Packaging.

Depending on your shipment’s value, DHL could be a good choice due to their low brokerage/disbursement fee (2.5% of the declared value with a minimum of $7) according to this forum, which is lower than FedEx and UPS for many values. If you decide to ship to the Caribbean via DHL, make sure to check the Import Guidelines.

USPS

USPS can be another good choice for sending small parcels to the Caribbean, especially if you are shipping something light and inexpensive. First-Class International Parcel service is a really cheap option if your parcel is under 4 lbs, under $400 value, less than 24″ long, and with less than 36″ total length+depth+height. Normally, USPS shipments (even Priority Mail) are only tracked until they leave the US.

If your parcel is between 4 and 20 lbs, Medium or Large Priority Mail International Flat Rate boxes may be a good choice . Also check regular Priority Mail International service (max length 79″ and max length plus girth 108″). If your parcel is large but light, this could be cheaper than the flat rate.

Express Mail (42″ max length, 79″ max length plus girth combined) is also an option for faster service. Up to 20 lbs, an Express Mail Flat Rate Box may be your ticket.

Be sure to take a look at the USPS Country Listings for prices and details on shipping to a specific country within the Caribbean.

If you’d like additional information, here is a great overview.

LTL Freight Carriers

YRC

Through its subsidiary New Penn, YRC provides LTL freight services to the Caribbean, but only to Puerto Rico.

YRC Regional service to Puerto Rico is headquartered in the Northeast, with most shipments entering and exiting through the Ports of New York and New Jersey.

For a brief overview of shipping to the Caribbean through YRC, please see their Puerto Rico Transportation Solutions brochure.

FedEx Express

FedEx does not ship large freight directly to the Caribbean, but instead subcontracts their services through Distribution Services Limited Star Express, which is a subsidiary of Maersk Logistics.

However, FedEx Express Caribbean Transportation Solutions does provide Caribbean service for skids weighing between 150 and 2,200 lbs. The hub of FedEx Express’s Caribbean operation is located in Puerto Rico, with almost daily flights to surrounding islands/countries such as Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, St. Kitts, St. Marteen, St. Croix, St. Thomas, and Tortola.

FeEx Express provides Next Day, 2nd Day/Standard, 3rd Day/Time Definite, and 4-5 Day/Deferred shipping options, as well as full tracking capabilities.

It’s important to note that FedEx applies a fuel surcharge to all Caribbean shipments, the rates for which are updated monthly.

FedEx Express has a minimum 150 lb requirement for all individual skids. If a skid exceeds 2,200 lbs, is more than 70” in height, 119” in length, or 80” in width, it will require prior approval before be shipped. See the FedEx Express CTS Brochure for detailed service maps and rates.

For a detailed look at FedEx’s Caribbean Transportation Solutions Conditions of Carriage, click here.

UPS Freight

UPS Worldwide Express Freight provides LTL services to the Caribbean, but only to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

UPS International provides a useful set of country-specific tools on their TradeAbility page, including estimated costs, verifying import compliance, and screening for denied parties.

If you’re new to LTL shipping through UPS, it would be a good idea to briefly review their helpful Preparing Your Freight Shipment page for tips on shipping to the Caribbean.

Con-Way

Con-Way provides LTL shipping services to more than 30 Caribbean destinations through their TropicalDirect™ service, with Caribbean shipping ports located in Miami, FL, Los Angeles, CA, West Palm Beach, FL, Kearny, NJ, and San Juan, PR.

Con-Way’s Tropical Shipping website provides detailed information about shipping to the Caribbean, including a forms section, a complete list of schedules, in addition to shipping and packing guidelines. If you need LTL services to the Cayman Islands, the site also provides a detailed shipping report.

SAIA

Within the Caribbean, SAIA only provides LTL shipping services to Puerto Rico. With direct SAIA employees on both sides of your LTL shipment, they are able to provide a high level of responsiveness to your needs.

Prior to shipping, be sure to download any required commercial invoices or Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED).

R+L Carriers

R+L Carriers can be a good choice when shipping to the Caribbean, though their LTL services only extend to the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Be sure to take a look at their Caribbean-specific information for additional details.

For palletized shipments, R+L provides a handy density calculator. If you need a quick rate quote, visit the R+L online quoting tool.

Estes

Estes Express provides LTL offshore shipping coverage to several Caribbean destinations.

Estes sails from their primary ports in Philadelphia and Jacksonville every Tuesday and Friday, with arrival in San Juan within three days. Be sure to take a look at their sailing schedule for specifics.

Estes is a great choice for shipping to the Caribbean because they help ensure your forms are in order prior to shipping, as well as full tracking capabilities until your goods reach their destination.

It’s important to note that shipments to any Caribbean location, other than Puerto Rico, only include delivery to the main port. Pickup from there is the sole responsibility of the consignee.

Ocean Carriers

APM-Maersk

Unarguably, Maersk is the world’s leading ocean carrier, and boasts a fleet that is more than double (about 500 vessels) the size of their closest competitor.

Maersk ships to all major ports within the Caribbean. For a list of all routes, including maps, visit their Central America and Caribbean page.

Mediterranean Shipping Company

Mediterranean Shipping is the second largest ocean carrier on the planet, and despite their name, they do offer worldwide shipping coverage.

While Mediterranean Shipping’s site doesn’t give in-depth coverage like some of the other ocean carriers, their worldwide routes page provides a brief overview. However, if you have a specific question about shipping goods from port A to port B, their schedule may be a good place to start.

CMA-CGM

As the world’s third-largest ocean shipping company, CMA-CGM serves nearly all mid and large-sized ports within the Caribbean through three routes; their inter-island feeder, East Coast, and Gulf Coast lines.

Import Duties and Taxes

CARICOM

In order to establish a common market among many of the larger Caribbean economies, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) organization was formed in 1973. Originally consisting of four member countries, CARICOM has grown to encompass 15 nations today, in addition to five member associates. Among CARICOM’s main goals are to provide “more efficient operation of common services and activities for the benefit of its peoples,” and “intensif[y] activities in areas such as health, education, transportation, telecommunications.” From a shipping perspective, CARICOM has helped foster the free movement of goods and services between members, including common tariffs and trade policies. As a result, individuals or businesses shipping to CARICOM member countries will generally find the process to be more streamlined than when shipping to non-members.

Shipment Value

Most Caribbean countries tax items that are intended to be sold within their borders. However, the region is a haven for duty-free shopping, which is primarily generated through tourism. Many countries include no taxes for liquor, chocolates, and perfumes.

Gift Shipments

Most CARICOM members include minimal, or no, taxes or tariffs on gift shipments; that is, those that are intended for personal use, and will not be resold within the country. Puerto Rico, for example, has a gift tariff exemption only for items with less than a $100 value, which would also apply to any U.S. territory, due to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule.

Commercial Shipments Duties and Taxes

CARICOM’s Caribbean Export Agreement has helped to normalize tariffs on commercial shipments for all member nations.

Customs Brokerage

Mail and Small Parcel Shipments

Hiring the services of a customs brokerage agent may only be needed when shipping a small parcel of high value. It’s important to note that some Caribbean countries have very reliable mail and parcel delivery service, while others do not.

Freight Shipments

For most Caribbean countries, hiring a customs broker for freight shipments is not a requirement, though it can help smooth the process. However, most larger freight carriers will include customs brokerage fees in their rates, when necessary.

US Export Requirements

The Caribbean region imports more than $20 billion worth of U.S. goods on an annual basis, which makes many of the export requirements easier to handle. As with almost all international shipments, there are several key export documents that will need to accompany your goods.

Tips to Save Money when Shipping to the Caribbean:

  • Select the best shipping carrier based on each company’s specific strengths and pricing methods.
  • Make sure you have considered all duties, taxes, brokerage, and miscellaneous fees. For a fast, free estimate on shipping items to the Caribbean, contact us.
  • Check for any required licenses or permits and make sure that you are not shipping a prohibited item.
  • Consider having your item shipped to the Caribbean directly from the US manufacturer. If the manufacturer ships frequently, they already know the associated costs and pitfalls, and may be able to get you a great shipping rate.

Additional References

Caribbean Shipping Association.

Choosing the Best Company for Shipping to the Caribbean.