A Guide to Shipping a Barrel to Jamaica
*This post was previously called ‘The Art of Shipping a Barrel – Part One’ and was fully updated on 27th February 2019*
Act like a pro, by following the easy tips and advice in this guide to shipping a barrel to Jamaica. It’s not as hard as you think and the great service at the wharf it makes it all the more enjoyable…
This is a two-part post on Shipping to Jamaica.
Part One (this post) includes advice and tips on everything that happens prior to the barrel leaving the Senders address.
Part Two covers what happens once the barrel has arrived in the destination port of entry in Jamaica and requires clearing and transportation to the receivers address.
How to Ship a Barrel in 3 Easy Steps
It is a fairly simple process to arrange shipping for a barrel to Jamaica, as demonstrated in these three easy steps!
- Find a reputable local shipping agent and buy a barrel; usually at around £32.00 / $20 – $40 US, for a 210 litre / 55 Gallon plastic barrel; most agents will deliver sometimes for a small fee
- Pack your barrel with care! Wrap lids with brown packing tape and separate food items away from toiletries, soap powder and cleaning materials, so they taste and smell as they should. Bubble wrap fragile items and use towels, bed sheets and other soft items as protection.
- Arrange for collection from your shipping agent and make sure they put a ‘tamper proof seal’ on your barrel. Pay for shipping to either Kingston wharf, Montego bay wharf, or opt for home delivery. Get your Bill of Lading and keep in a safe place. You will need to take it to the wharf with you to clear the barrel in Jamaica.
Finding a Shipping Agent
If you are thinking about shipping a barrel to Jamaica, first and foremost you are going to need to find a shipping agent and get your hands on a barrel.
The obvious place to try is local shipping companies and shipping agents in your area. Many of which can be found when searching for ‘shipping services’ online, or in directories such as the yellow pages.
Most shipping agents sell barrels as a side line and will drop off an empty barrel at little, or no charge to your home address.
If your local shipping agent doesn’t sell barrels, you could try searching online for ‘barrels and drums’, ‘barrel’ or ‘plastic shipping barrel’ with the name of your local area; for example: ‘plastic shipping barrel South London’.
I have seen shipping barrels for sale on eBay and Gumtree and through independent sellers, where they have plenty of choice and availability.
The most popular size of barrel holds around 210 – 220 litres, or about 55 Gallons are sold for about £32.00, or US $25.00 – US $40.00.
More Information: Want to learn more about Barrels, Crates and Containers?
Packing your Barrel
To ensure you items arrive in one piece and tasting as expected, you should follow some packing ettiquette tips.
Sort items by type, wrap and seal them to plastic bags and containers and do your best to keep different types of items apart.
I would recommend packing items you love and need and look out for bargains and deals to lower the cost of filling the barrel.
Barrels containing a mixture of food, household / kitchen items, cleaning materials, toiletries, used clothing and other sundry items have the lowest tax bracket as they are considered to be items for personal use.
These types of barrel contents attract Customs Fees starting from JA $6,500 per barrel and up.
More Information: What to Pack in a Barrel being Shipped to Jamaica
Security of Barrels when Shipping
You may of heard rumours that items go missing from barrels, or that it is not a secure way to transport your goods to Jamaica. But I would beg to differ.
In my experience of shipping to Jamaica since 2008, I have never had anything go missing from any of my consignments.
Barrel Security is paramount to both the customer and the shipping agent. It would ruin a shipping agents reputation if they repeatedly raided their customers barrels, or were negligent when clearing items on a customers behalf.
The wharf is also a profit making business, bad customer feedback means less customers and less profit, so they watch their staff and have massively upgraded the facilities and security measures in recent years.
To ensure the barrels are secured the shipping agents attach a small tamper proof metal tag to the barrel seal. This is secured to the barrel before they even leave the senders location and are loaded onto the truck for delivery to the wharf.
If you really want to have peace of mind you can write down the serial number and check it has the same serial / ID number when it reaches the wharf in Jamaica, if you are clearing the barrels and drums in person. It is also recorded on your paperwork to verify that the same barrel you packed overseas, is being given to you at the wharf in Jamaica.
If you opt for home delivery, the barrel will be opened by customs officials in the presence of your shipping agent, in order for the contents to be verified and valued for customs duty. Please be aware that Kingston Wharf has cameras working in this area to film what is going on and to prevent the possibility of stealing, or removing of goods from the barrels by the people working there.
This is also a way of catching contraband that is being packed into the barrels. The video evidence will show the sealed barrel being opened for the first time since it left the senders overseas location, incriminating them squarely.
Labelling your Barrel Correctly
The only way of distinguishing your barrel from the millions of other barrels at the wharf is the label, or to be exact the writing on the barrel itself. So be sure to take the time to do it correctly.
It is best to use a thick black permanent marker pen and write your name (or the receivers name) and address clearly on the barrels, so they are easily identifiable at the wharf.
Don’t be shy, write in big block letters so it can be read from a mile away (not literally!). Make it easy for the warehouse workers to find your barrel in the mellee and for you to recognise it is yours.
I have also been asked to write the receivers details on the barrel cover too. Despite them being made of black plastic (nowadays) and the marker pen is barely visible. But I guess the more labels the better!
The shipping agent will generally add their own sticky backed branded label to the barrel as well. They will copy the receivers address that YOU have written on the barrel, so ensure it is correct!
The correct way of writing the receivers details on the barrel is:
- Receivers Name (first and last name)
- Local Post Office to Receiver
- Address of Receiver
- Parish of Receiver
- Jamaica, W.I.
How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Barrel?
The cost involved in shipping a barrel is made up of two parts.
The first set of charges will be pre-paid in the country of origin and the rest will need to be paid by the receiver in the destination country.
The sender will need to take into account the cost of filling the barrel (the contents), buying the barrel itself and the cost of shipping the barrel from the country of origin to the port of destination.
To give an example: It cost me £96.00 to buy 3 empty barrels, plus a further £120.00 to collect the barrels from London, UK and ship them to Kingston Wharf, Jamaica.
There are other fees and taxes to pay in the destination country, when clearing and collecting the barrel.
The fees vary dependent on the shipping agent, Customs taxes and fees incurred and whether you opt for home delivery in Jamaica.
Want to learn about the process of clearing a barrel and the charges incurred? More Information: A Guide to Clearing a Barrel at Kingston Wharves in Jamaica
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