A Guide to Shipping a Barrel to Jamaica

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!

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
Dimensions of a Shipping Barrel
How to Label a Shipping Barrel

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

Want Shipping and Logistics Solutions in Jamaica?

Still not convinced about shipping a barrel on your own? Our sister company offers assistance to returning residents, expats and anyone else that wants to Live in Jamaica, Ship to Jamaica and more!

Shipping and logistics solutions from the UK to Jamaica

Sweet Jamaica Guides to Shipping

Want to know what a barrel is all about and where to get one?

Read A Guide to Barrels and Drums – Shipping Basics

Want to learn the best contents for packing in a Barrel?

Read What to Pack in a Barrel being Shipped to Jamaica

Want a Guide on How to Pack a Barrel?

Read How to Pack a Barrel for Shipping to Jamaica

Want to learn the process involved in clearing a barrel / cargo in Jamaica?

Read A Guide to Clearing a Barrel at Kingston Wharves Jamaica

Want some additional information on Shipping to Jamaica?

Read Sending a Barrel or Crate to Jamaica

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Keep the Conversation Going….

Have you shipped items to Jamaica, share your experience?

Which items do you love to ship, or can’t do without?

Join the Comments Below….

45 thoughts on “A Guide to Shipping a Barrel to Jamaica”

  1. Hi Fee

    Thanks for the comment and welcome to the site.

    The home delivery option is offered too, but the price depends on what you want delivered and to which part of the island. With there being two ports in Jamaica, Kingston and Montego Bay, it makes sense that you ship to the nearest wharf to where you want the things delivered to. If the shipping company home delivers for you they will also be responsible for clearing the items from the wharf too, so the paperwork and the tax fee paid will also be handed over to you and added on top of the delivery fee.

    If you send the items yourself, then fly over and go the wharf to collect them yourself you can get a reduction on the tax payable if you get the C15 or ‘Yellow Form’ from the ‘To Declare’ line at the airport as it is classed as unaccompanied luggage.

    If you would like to arrange for shipping and logistics to Jamaica, please contact our sister company ‘Live In Jamaica’, who will be happy to assist you further. Email: hello@liveinjamaica.co.uk – website: https://www.liveinjamaica.co.uk

    Hope this helps!

    Have a blessed day Jules

  2. Hi
    Thank you for the message, sorry for the delay in responding but with all the rain in Jamaica, I have been having problems getting online recently!

    Unfortunately I cannot give you an exact answer to your question, as the price to ship a barrel depends on many factors. However, I can tell you that finding a reputable local agent should be your first port of call, if you will excuse the pun! I would initially suggest checking out this link for the Yellow Pages, which lists Shipping Companies based in California: http://www.yellowpages.com/california/shipping-company?q=shipping+company

    Browse through the list and check out the services offered by each shipping agent, including the cost of the empty barrel, the shipping companies fees (both in the USA and Jamaica) and the shipping time. I would then highly recommend that you ‘Google’ the company to find reviews about them before you agree to send off your possessions with them.

    If you haven’t already, you can get further information by checking out my post: https://sweetjamaica.co.uk/art-of-shipping-a-barrel-part-two/ which details the processes and charges associated with shipping to Jamaica and what I had to do to collect the barrels from the wharf myself. As I have had several queries about shipping to Jamaica, I decided to write a new post so that I can go into greater detail about the process and answer the most asked questions… you can find that post here later today!: https://sweetjamaica.co.uk/crate-and-barrel

    I hope this helps you? If you do decide to ship a barrel, please get back to Sweet Jamaica and share your experience with us and our readers, as I (we) would love to hear about it. Have a great day and good luck!

  3. I shipped my barrels to Kingston for a decent price with US GENERAL SHIPPING check them out at USGShipping.com

  4. Hi, can you supply me with the information of a shipping agency in London near Brixton that will ship my barrel to Kingston Logistics in Jamaica.

  5. Hey Kay
    Welcome to the site and thanks for taking the time to comment.

    I highly recommend Kingsley Shipping Services, as I have used them many times and have always received the best customer service and very good prices. They are based in Purley Way, Croydon, but they will collect your barrel from Brixton no problem. Just call them and they will let you know what day they can collect the barrel, the date that it will be shipped and the expected arrival date to JA.

    You have two shipping options:
    1) Clear the barrel from the wharf in Kingston (or Montego Bay) yourself; if you are flying down remember to pick up the C15 or Yellow Form (as it is known) from the airport. Depending of how much ‘taxable’ goods you have in your accompanied luggage (hand luggage and suitcases), you are potentially entitled to a discount on the tax that is payable on the contents of the barrel at the wharf. You have a US$500.00 tax free allowance on items that you bring into Jamaica that are classed as gifts, saleable items, or generally not for your own personal use. Whether brought with you by air as ‘accompanied luggage’, or as ‘unaccompanied luggage’ through the means of shipping a barrel or crate. Proving the deemed value of these types of items in your luggage, by having the signed Yellow Form makes a massive difference to the tax payable. By using the Yellow Form, I reduced the tax payable on the last barrel I shipped (in April 2013) to $1,500 (about £10.00).

    2) Ask for a door to door quotation; the price will be based on the location and what you are shipping (in terms of size and amount of items), the tax is still applicable and is normally added to the end price, as they have no way of knowing how much it will cost until JA Customs go through the barrel and provide the price payable.

    If you would like to arrange for shipping and logistics to Jamaica, please contact our sister company ‘Live In Jamaica’, who will be happy to assist you further. Email: hello@liveinjamaica.co.uk – website: https://www.liveinjamaica.co.uk

    Good Luck Kay, I hope this helps you? Let me know how you get on and please share your experience of shipping to Sweet Jamaica!…

    Take care for now Jules

  6. Thank you for this post…I was completely lost as to how to ship a barrel… This is my first time. Thank you for your informative post.

  7. Hey Kim
    Thanks for getting in touch, it is great to hear from you. I am glad that you found my experience useful to help you with shipping your barrel. Let me know if there is anything else you need assistance with and let me know about your experience on the site when you get through with everything. Hope it goes well, good luck!

  8. The information you have provided is perfect, Thank you, at last….
    Do you know of any shipping agents near Coventry in the West Midlands (19 miles south east of Birmingham) junction 2 off the M6 (10 mins drive away to be precise)?

    And, I want to send barrels to a charitable organisation and their local school in Ocho Rios, are there any concessions with barrels & shipping going to non profit charities in JA, or can you direct me to this information please.

    kind regards Maria

  9. Dear Maria

    Thank you for taking the time to comment on the post, I am glad you found it useful.

    In answer to your question about local shipping agents in Coventry, I do not know of any personally that provide a good service. However, I would recommend that you look in the local yellow pages for a shipping agent and then ‘google’ the name of the shipping company followed by the word ‘reviews’, i.e. ‘Blue Shipping Service Ltd Reviews’ that should give you an idea of what other people have experienced using that company.

    If you would like to arrange for shipping and logistics to Jamaica, please contact our sister company ‘Live In Jamaica’, who will be happy to assist you further. Email: hello@liveinjamaica.co.uk – website: https://www.liveinjamaica.co.uk

    In answer to your second question, the receiver of the charitable donation are able to get a concession on the tax payable in Jamaica to clear the goods if you / they follow a certain procedure. You must inform the school of the intended donation and make sure that they have obtained the Charitable Organisations status. As far as I am aware you have to pay the costs of shipping the items to Jamaica yourself, unless you can persuade a shipping agent to sponsor you. The following information has been taken from the Jamaican Customs website:

    Kingston, Jamaica: – Effective July 15, 2013, the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) and Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) will administer the tax relief for approved charitable organizations. No longer will charitable organizations, including Faith Based and Sporting Institutions be required to apply to the Minister of Finance and Planning to be granted a relief of customs duties and taxes for their charitable imports.

    Approved charitable organizations are now required to apply directly to the Commissioner of Customs PRIOR to any shipment of goods, whether by donations or otherwise, to receive the requisite approval before the goods arrive at the Port of entry. Charitable Organizations that have not gained their “Charitable Organizations” approval will need to apply to the Commissioner General of the TAJ in order to gain that status.

    The Ministry of Finance and Planning will continue to process applications that are currently in its possession until the enactment of the legislation; thereafter all applicants for duty/tax waiver will be referred to the Jamaica Customs Agency.

    Jamaica Customs and Tax Administration Jamaica will be executing post audit operations with regards to goods being imported by Charitable Organizations. If any such organizations are deemed to have been in contravention of their approved status, the appropriate penalties will be applied.

    The new arrangement for the treatment of approved charitable organizations is being done in accordance with the Houses of Parliament recently approved Bill entitled Charitable Organizations (Tax Harmonization) (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2013.

    For Additional Information, Contact:
    Dania Beckford
    Director, Public Relations & Information
    Tel: 750-3010/ 383-2760

    Hope this helps?! Let me know how you get on… Good Luck Jules

  10. Does it matter if you are a citizen of the US or United Kingdom to get a yellow form.I was told by a friend that you do not get a yellow form if you have gave up your Jamaica citizenship.Is that true?

  11. Hey Angela,
    Thanks for getting in touch. To answer your question…

    Anyone who travels to Jamaica, no matter where they are from, are entitled to ship ‘unaccompanied items’ (i.e. a barrel or crate) to Jamaica to a value of US$500.00. To get this entitlement you have to follow a few easy steps:

    1) If you travel to Jamaica on a foreign national passport (i.e. NOT a Jamaican passport) you will be given an ‘Immigration Form’ on the aeroplane, remember to fill in the back of the form where it asks you to declare dutiable items as you will need this later when you get the C27 Form. I would not advise NOT getting too ‘creative’ with the figures as the customs officers have seen it all before and will not be smiling along with you as you try to deceive them! If you are travelling on a Jamaican passport you can omit this step and move to Step 2.

    2) Approach the ‘to declare’ line at the airport in Kingston or Montego Bay show them the Immigration Form (if you have one) and ask for a C27 or yellow form. Again mark down any dutiable items that you have in your luggage which are clearly listed on the forms; be warned if you grossly underestimate the value the customs officer will not be very sympathetic with you and your allowance and you may end up having to pay tax at the airport!

    The customs officer will look through your accompanied luggage, i.e. your suitcases and hand luggage to check the value of any items deemed not to be of personal clothing / toiletries and will judge the value of duty free items, gifts and so on. If you feel the value marked down is too high and you have receipts for any of the items you can show them to the Customs Officer and they may give a further concession. Therefore, if the customs officer marks down a value of US$150.00 on the C27 form, that means you have a tax free allowance of US$350.00 to use against the unaccompanied luggage you are clearing at the wharf.

    3) *Take the C27 Form to the wharf and any remaining tax free allowance you have will be set against the tax payable on unaccompanied items that you have shipped. If you have shipped anything else that is arriving within a reasonable time you can ask for any remaining allowance to be transferred to a new C27 form. I have used this method the last time I shipped.

    *PLEASE NOTE: update 13 FEB 2019 – The C27 Form aka the ‘yellow form’ is now computerised and you will NOT be handed the form to carry to the wharf. When you get to the wharf you must remember to join the line for the ‘recently landed persons’ whereby the details of the remaining allowance and your ‘recently landed status’ will be allocated to your barrels.

    The confusion maybe caused by the difference between a ‘returning resident’ bringing back goods and a visitor to Jamaica bringing back ‘unaccompanied baggage’. A returning resident, which includes deportees, are allowed to bring back a set amount of household and personal items tax free.

    A returning resident is defined as:

    1. Be a Jamaican national who has attained the age of eighteen (18) years; Has been resident overseas for not less than three 3 consecutive years and Returning to Jamaica to reside permanently.
    2. Non-Jamaican whose spouse is a Jamaican Returning Resident
    3. Jamaican student who has attained the age of eighteen (18) years and who has studied abroad for more than one year but less than three consecutive years.
    4. Jamaican who gave up his/her citizenship (and can provide proof of that previous status) and wishes to return home.

    Hope this clears up things for you? Good Luck.

    Blessings Jules

  12. I have two barrels I want to send door to door from London to stelizabeth Jamaica how much will it cost and how do I go about sending it

  13. Hi Elaine

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    If you have already bought and packed the barrels, I would assume that the business place you bought them from offers shipping too?

    If not you will need to find a local shipping agent to collect the barrels from your London home address and ship the barrels to the wharf in Jamaica, before clearing them on your behalf and driving them to your address in St. Elizabeth.

    Every shipping agent charges different prices, but it should cost approx. £60.00 to ship each barrel (some give a small discount for 2 or more barrels), plus the home delivery fee will be extra and depends on where it is being delivered.

    Also please be aware that the import duties, taxes and other charges will be paid on your behalf at the wharf and the receipts will be brought to the address in St. Elizabeth for paying by the receiver before they hand over the barrels. Be sure to write the name and address of the receiver, including the local Post Office on both the lid (if possible) and side of the barrel in black marker pen, so that it is easily identified at the wharf.

    If you would like to arrange for shipping and logistics to Jamaica, please contact our sister company ‘Live In Jamaica’, who will be happy to assist you further. Email: hello@liveinjamaica.co.uk – website: https://www.liveinjamaica.co.uk

    Hope this helps!

    Bless up Jules

  14. really helpful as I have never sent anything to jamaica and looking forward to settling there soon. Really helpful thanks again.

  15. Welcome to Sweet Jamaica!

    Glad you found the post helpful Susan, thanks for taking the time to comment. Did you check out The Art of Packing a Barrel Part Two post? It has further information about shipping to Jamaica, including clearing a barrel and paying custom taxes and duty, in Jamaica.

    I hope you new move goes well, keep in touch about how you get on.

    Best wishes Jules

  16. Good morning. Thanks for your advice.one question
    How much does it cost to clear one barrel with food items in jamica including of tax?????

  17. Hi Drezel

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    It is hard to say how much the tax will be as it differs and depends on the value of the items in the barrel. But, you can expect to pay from JA$6,500 to clear a barrel with food items, toiletries, cleaning materials, used household items. If you pack clothes, electrical items and tools, expect to pay more.

    To get a guide to the cost, based on value and type of item you can check out this website that calculates the cost of clearing customs: http://www.clearingcustomsja.com/index.phphttp://www.clearingcustomsja.com/index.php

    If you would like to arrange for shipping and logistics to Jamaica, please contact our sister company ‘Live In Jamaica’, who will be happy to assist you further. Email: hello@liveinjamaica.co.uk – website: https://www.liveinjamaica.co.uk

    Hope this helps

    Bless up Jules

  18. Hey Karen
    Welcome to the site! I would recommend searching online, or looking in the local business directory for a shipper for your area. Once you have found one that agrees to ship to Jamaica, google them to see if there are any reviews from others who have used their service before committing.

    Hope this helps and Good Luck.

    Bless up Jules

  19. Hey Pamcam

    Thanks for visiting the site.

    If you wish to ship a container from the UK, you will need to either purchase or rent a container. If you wish to rent a container you would need to contact a shipping agent and they will arrange for a container to be delivered; either 20ft or 40ft container, part or fully filled with your consignment.

    Once the container is filled it will be loaded onto a container ship and shipped to Jamaica. You need to get a broker to clear your goods and work with Customs to calculate the cost of the import taxes and fees. Once the fees have been paid the container can leave the wharf. You will need to engage a truck driver to collect the container and deliver it to your place of residence / business in Jamaica. If the container has been rented it will be returned to the shipping agent.

    If you would like to arrange for shipping and logistics to Jamaica, please contact our sister company ‘Live In Jamaica’, who will be happy to assist you further. Email: hello@liveinjamaica.co.uk – website: https://www.liveinjamaica.co.uk

    Hope this helps

    Bless up Jules

  20. What can i put in a Barrel to send to Jamaica. Can I put in body sprays and spray polishs and hair spray air sprays ..

  21. Hi Elaine

    I have packed ‘spray cans’ in a barrel with no problems. Items, such as body spray, deoderant, hair spray, air freshener, shaving foam and the like are okay to pack in a barrel, just make the cap / cover is taped down to prevent the button being accidently pushed down in transit!

    Hope this helps!

    Have a blessed day


  22. Hi Jules

    How much time would you allow from shipping from London to Kingston? I plan to send a barrel and arrive in Kingston to clear it myself. I’m thinking 4 weeks from my door in London, to being informed its ready for collection at Kingston wharf. Would you agree?

    Thanks for your time.

  23. Hi Sharon

    Welcome to the site. I would agree in allowing 4 weeks for shipping from London to Kingston. It generally takes 3 weeks at sea and up to a week for the containers to be stripped and the barrels to be ready for collection. I would advise asking the shipping agent of their timetable though, as not every shipping agent has a twice weekly / or weekly service, which may increase the length of time.

    Good luck with everything!

    Bless up Jules

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