How To Ship A Barrel To Jamaica (3 Easy Steps)

(post updated July 2022)

If you are thinking of shipping a barrel to Jamaica this easy-to-follow guide will have you walking through the process like a pro in 3 easy steps. It’s not as hard as you think to ship a barrel to Jamaica and with a few hints and tips, you’ll have your barrels packed and on their way to the sunshine in no time at all.

How To Ship A Barrel To Jamaica In 3 Easy Steps

If you want to ship a barrel to Jamaica, you’ll be relieved to know it’s a fairly simple process to get through as demonstrated in these three easy steps!

Step 1. Find A Reputable Local Shipping Agent and buy a barrel; usually at around £32.00 / $20 – $40 US, for a 210 liter / 55 Gallon plastic barrel; most agents will deliver sometimes for a small fee.

Step 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 soft items such as towels, bed sheets, and clothes as protection.

Step 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, or Montego bay wharf, or opt for home delivery. Get your Bill of Lading and keep it in a safe place. You will need to take it to the wharf with you to clear the barrel in Jamaica.

Finding a Reputable Shipping Agent That Ships To Jamaica

If you are thinking about shipping a barrel to Jamaica, first and foremost you are going to need to find a shipping agent and buy a shipping barrel.

If you don’t know of any shipping agents that service Jamaica, ask your friends if they can recommend anyone, as the best recommendation is usually a referral.

The next best place to try is searching online for 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.

The best thing is to compare the shipping prices, then search for reviews from previous customers to check the Shipping Agents’ service records.

Each Shipping company has a schedule of upcoming dates they will be shipping to Jamaica and will be able to tell you how long it should take for your goods to arrive at the wharf.

Top Tip! Make sure their shipping schedule suits your plans and travel itinerary, as the last thing you want is for your items to arrive at an inconvenient date for collection.

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 liters, or about 55 Gallons sold for about £32.00, or US $25.00 – US $40.00.

Packing Your Shipping Barrel

To ensure your items arrive in one piece and taste as expected, you should follow some packing etiquette tips on how to pack a barrel for shipping to Jamaica.

Sort items by type, wrap and seal them into plastic bags and containers and do your best to keep different types of items apart.

If you are wondering what should I pack in a shipping barrel for Jamaica, I would recommend packing items that you love, whilst looking out for bargains and deals to lower the cost of filling the barrel.

Remember that you have to pay fees, duties, and taxes when clearing a shipping barrel in Jamaica, so take that into account when filling your 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.

Security Of Barrels Contents When Shipping

You may have heard rumors 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 agent’s reputation if they repeatedly raided their customer’s barrels, or were negligent when clearing items on a customer’s behalf.

The wharf is also a profit-making business, bad customer feedback means fewer 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 sender’s 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 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 sender’s overseas location, incriminating them squarely.

Labeling 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 receiver’s 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 melee and for you to recognize it is yours.

I have also been asked to write the receiver’s 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 receiver’s 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

FAQs About Shipping A Barrel To Jamaica

All the things you always wanted to ask about shipping a barrel to Jamaica…

How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Barrel To Jamaica?

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.

The second set of charges are payable in Jamaica when collecting your paperwork and at the wharf itself when clearing and collecting the barrel.

The fees vary depending on the shipping agent, customs taxes and fees incurred, and whether you opt for home delivery in Jamaica.

How can I save money Shipping a Barrel to Jamaica?

  • Be pound smart and penny-wise, when deciding what to pack in the barrel
  • Arrange to ship the barrel from your home country to yourself
  • Fly to Jamaica and request the C27 aka, the Yellow Form at the airport – which gives you a US$500.00 tax-free allowance 
  • PLEASE NOTE! As this process is now computerized you will not be given a paper copy of the Yellow Form to carry to the wharf
  • The Customs official will check your accompanied luggage (suitcases and hand luggage) to assess the value of items deemed to be taxable. Which include: ‘duty-free’ items bought en-route (liquor, perfume, tobacco products, etc) ‘gifts’, ‘resale items’, electrical items, and items not for your personal use
  • This total will be deducted from your US$500.00 tax-free allowance, i.e. if the goods in your accompanied luggage are valued at US$100, you will have a US$400.00 allowance to use at the wharf for whatever you have shipped down as ‘unaccompanied baggage’ (barrels and crates and so on)
  • When you go to the wharf to clear your barrel, make SURE you join the line for the ‘yellow form’ / persons who have recently traveled. Otherwise, the tax-free allowance will not be allocated to your shipped goods

TOP TIP! –  It works out much cheaper if you ship the barrel to yourself, i.e. you can save money shipping a barrel to Jamaica, if you are both the sender and receiver listed on the ‘Bill of Lading’.

More Information on Shipping A Barrel

As I have 10 years of experience personally clearing barrels myself, I know it can be intimidating the first time you arrange to do it for yourself, but it doesn’t have to be that way if you do a little research on all the stages.

  1. What Are Barrels: Brief history of shipping barrels, what they are, and where to buy them
  2. What to Pack in a Barrel: Ideas and advice on what to purchase to fill your barrel
  3. How To Pack A Barrel: The best method of packing a barrel
  4. How To Ship a Barrel: This post is all about shipping a barrel to Jamaica!
  5. How To Clear A Barrel: how to clear a barrel in Jamaica!