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What to Pack in a Barrel being Shipped to Jamaica

What to Pack in a Barrel being Shipped to Jamaica

So you read the ‘Guide to Barrels And Drums – Shipping Basics’ and are fully versed on what barrels and drums are all about. Now you are ready to try shipping a barrel for yourself.

If you are feeling confused and hot under the collar about what to put in the barrel and where to buy it, you have come to the right place.

This post gives you a guide as to what to pack in a barrel being shipped to Jamaica so you get the most out of the experience and cost involved in shipping.

More Information: Missed the memo on barrels and drums? A Guide to Barrels and Drums – Shipping Basics

What to Pack for Jamaica

Before you go ahead and buy your barrel you will need to think about filling it up. A standard sized barrel holds 210 – 220 litres (about 55 Gallons) and is surprisingly roomy inside, consuming innumerable items to fill it up.

Depending on what you buy,  it can be costly to fill up a barrel due to the internal capacity. So either take your time buying up items over a period of months, or get yourself prepared for the onslaught if buying it all in one go.

If you are stuck as to what to put in the barrel, think about who the recipient will be. Are you sending the barrel to yourself, or to a loved one?

For example, is the barrel going to a child, an adult with a young family, or are you sending it to granny? This will help you determine the type of things you are going to want to initially include as the essential or basic items.

If you want to pack a barrel with provisions, just think about what you, or the recipient normally eat and use inside the home.  After that, buy some things that will be useful. For good measure add some of your favourite treats and a few bits to give away, plus anything else that is expensive and hard to come by in Jamaica.

That might be easier said than done, especially if you haven’t been to Jamaica for a while (or ever before), as it can be hard to know ‘what is expensive and hard to come by in Jamaica’ if you have no experience of living there! So keep reading and I will cover that for you too.

More Information: If you are ready to start packing your barrel, read How to Pack a Barrel for Shipping to Jamaica

10 Tips when Buying Contents for a Barrel

  1. If you are on a budget try buying goods over a period of time, especially when they are on offer
  2. Check the sell-by-date and reach for the products with the longest remaining date printed on the label
  3. Look out for deals, sales, promotions, coupons, buy-one-get-one-free, 3 for 2 deals and special offers
  4. Check out bargain basement stores, such as £1 – One pound, and $1 – One dollar stores
  5. Join warehouse stores, such as Costco or Makro, and buy bulk sized portion packs
  6. Compare the prices of products online before going out and buying everything from one store
  7. Make use of supermarket home delivery, you are less likely to deviate from your list if you buy online
  8. Look for products packaged in plastic containers, rather than glass, as they travel better and require less padding
  9. Second-hand clothing attracts less tax, eCommerce sites, such as eBay has sellers offering ‘bulk loads or bundles’ of clothing, many barely worn, for next to nothing
  10. Remember the climate is different, unstable goods rot and melt, man-made materials have a tendency to suffer from dry rot and un-coated metal products are soon affected by rust

tinned cans

Barrel Content Ideas and Tips

The most important thing to remember is to only pack ‘shelf stable’ products, so don’t pack anything that requires refrigeration.

Think of it as the contents of a pantry, so buy up stocks of kitchen and home basics that have a long sell-by-date and which form part of a meal. Household items, school supplies and hurricane preparation goods are well received, as well as clothes and accessories.

 

Pack a Barrel – Content Ideas 

  • Dried foodstuffs; rice, dried pasta, dried beans / legumes, noodles, couscous, tea bags, hot and cold drink powders (with milk and sugar inside!), biscuits, snacks, breakfast cereal, cornmeal, popping corn, dried seasoning, protein powders and health foods
  • Tinned foodstuffs; fish, meat, baked beans, tinned vegetables, tinned fruit / desserts, milk, (Jamaican’s aren’t usually fans of tinned soup)
  • Jarred / bottled foodstuffs; cooking oil, peanut butter, spreads, sauces, condiments, jams (jelly), coffee, olives, pickles
  • Detergents and Cleaning materials; washing detergent for clothes, washing up liquid, bleach, cloths, sponges, pot scrubbers and other cleaning materials.
  • Kitchen essentials; foil, plastic wrap, food bags, food clips
  • Toiletries; soap, liquid soap / shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, body lotion, face cream, deoderant, razors, face scrub / wash, suntan lotion, cotton wool / Earbuds (Q-tips)
  • First Aid; antiseptic cream, plasters (band-aid) bandages, tape, pain pills, allergy relief, muscle rub, vitamins, flu / cold remedies, insect repellent, bite relief, rehydration salts, diarrhoea and sickness relief
  • Kitchen wares; pots / pans, dishes, cups, cutlery, utensils,  mason jars and similar, tupperware /plastic airtight containers
  • Soft Furnishings; bed sheets, blankets and covers, shower curtains, towels and bath mats, tea towels
  • Household Items; washing line, clothes peg (pin)
  • School Supplies; backpack, pencil case, pens and pencils, geometry set, dictionary, coloured pencils, notebooks, sketch pad, craft supplies, embroidery supplies, reading books, educational aids, snacks
  • Hurricane Supplies; tarpaulin, rope, flash light, candles, rainmac / poncho, umbrella, water boots (wellington boots), batteries, counter-top gas plate (DO NOT inlcude the GAS cylinder!!), vessels to hold water

What NOT to Pack in a Barrel

  • Do not pack any items that usually need to be refrigerated, such as meat, cheese, fish or other dairy products
  • Do not pack any fresh fruits or vegetables, plants or flowers, any forms of live animals; including birds (including eggs) / insects / sea life / reptiles or other organisms!
  • Do not pack any freshly prepared products, or part cooked foods, such as breads and baked goods, microwave and oven meals, pizza and pastry items, fast food of any kind (although most fast food could survive a nuclear holocaust the amount of preservatives they contain!)
  • Do not pack anything that is flammable, explosive, corrosive or dangerous in any way!
  • Do not pack matches, lighters, gas cylinders of any kind, fireworks, wet batteries (vehicle batteries)

Items that are Expensive and hard to come by in Jamaica

I would like to say that most things are available in Jamaica, but certain items are really over priced or hard to find, especially if you live in rural areas.

International Foods: If you are into eating international foods and like to whip up your own meals, it would be prudent to include a few grocery items that make this possible.

I enjoy cooking Asian, Mexican, Middle Eastern and Italian Foods, among other things. So I always pack basmati rice, authentic Thai Curry pastes, fish sauce, dry seasonings and herbs, tins of bamboo shoots, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, packet mixes, condiments, stock cubes, dried beans and legumes, olive oil, super-food powders, protein powders / supplements, clean living foods and other similar products.

Point of Note: Cooking Oil of any kind is expensive in Jamaica.

Pharmacuetical and First-Aid Supplies: Pharmacists in Jamaica must get paid great commission from the manufacturers, because they invariably recommend and prescribe the most expensive brands, instead of showing you the generic non-branded options. The cost of the simplest items will make you consider if you really need it.

I would highly recommend packing yourself a box of first-aid items, as outlined in the list above so you aren’t caught out when in a mini-crisis.

Homewares and Soft Furnishings: The majority of items made from fabric are either cheap imported Chinese goods, or expensive international versions. One towel can cost almost the same as a ‘bale of towels’ overseas, you could buy two or more bed-sets or blankets for the same price as one, curtains and nets are in a similar position.

Pots, pans, cutlery and utensils, in fact all kitchen supplies, one word to describe… Expensive.

Hurricane Supplies: All and sundry on the list above is expensive in Jamaica.

School Supplies: You can get cheap pens and pencils in Jamaica, in stores like Bashco, but the rest of the items are pricey.

Toiletries: When you can buy nearly everything on the list above in a pound or dollar store, it seems rude not to bring them with you! Or you can expect to pay 2 to 4 times that price in Jamaica for the same item, if they stock your usual brand.

Clothes et all: Whilst a barrel full of clothes and accessories is going to cost you more tax, a few choice items will make someone’s day. Despite Jamaica’s tropical location the weather is changeable throughout the year, hot and overbearing,  rainy and humid, chilly and wet. So don’t just pack shorts, flip flops and swimsuits!

Anything different, or from overseas is revered in Jamaica and that includes random things like snow boots, which I have seen a couple of people wearing since the ‘winter’ kicked in over here!… I would recommend something a bit more practical though!

 

First Aid Kit

 

What Items are Prohibited or Restricted by Jamaican Customs for Personal Shipping?

Some items are prohibited and restricted from entering Jamaica, so don’t assume because you own it, or it is legal in your own country that it will be allowable in Jamaica. There are laws, rules and guidance about what items are prohibited from entering Jamaica.

The Jamaican Customs website states that Prohibited Items include:

  • Prohibited items are absolutely forbidden from entering Jamaica, some of which include:
  • Indecent and obscene prints
  • Indecent and obscene prints, paintings, photographs, cinematograph films, lithographs, engravings, books, cards or written communications or any indecent or obscene articles whether similar to the above or not and any    parcels, packages or packets having thereon, or on the cover thereof, any  words, marks or designs which are grossly offensive or of an indecent or obscene character.
  • Coin-base or counterfeit coin of any country.

The following and similar publications:

1. All publications of de Laurence Scott and Company of Chicago in the United States of America relating to divination, magic, cultism or supernatural arts.

2. All publications of the Red Star Publishing Company of    Chicago in the United States of America relating to divination, magic, cultism or supernatural arts.

Some meats, fish, dairy produce, seeds, sugar and other items are also restricted.

More Information: Jamaican Customs website has designed a supporting PDF outlining the goods it applies to if in doubt.

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Further Information About Shipping

We have plenty of guides about shipping a barrel or crate, or anything else for that matter. Check out our other posts to read the whole series on Shipping 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 how to effectively pack a Barrel? Read How to Pack a Barrel for Shipping to Jamaica COMING SOON!

Want to learn the process involved in shipping in the senders country? Read The Art of Shipping a Barrel – Part One

Want to learn the process involved in collecting a shipment in Jamaica? Read The Art of Shipping a Barrel – Part Two

Want some additional information on Shipping to Jamaica? Read Sending a Barrel or Crate to Jamaica

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Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

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The Art of Shipping a Barrel… Part One

The Art of Shipping a Barrel – Part One

Shipping a crate or a barrel is not as hard as you think if you follow some easy tips and advice and with the great service at the wharf it makes it all the more enjoyable…

This is a two-part post on The Art of Shipping to JamaicaPart One 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 and requires clearing and transportation to the receiver.

How to Ship a Barrel?

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

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 locate somewhere that stocks barrels and drums.

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. If you give most shipping agents a call they may be willing to drop off an empty barrel at little, or no charge.

Alternatively, try searching online for ‘barrels and drums’ , ‘barrel’ or ‘plastic shipping barrel’. I have seen 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? – Read ‘What are Shipping Barrels and Drums?’

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: A guide to Picking and Packing a Shipping Barrel

 

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 where 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.

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 possible 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. If the cover is made of metal write on that too, the more labels the better. The shipping agent will generally add their own sticker backed label as well, but it is best not to rely on it in case in falls off.

The correct way of writing the receivers details on the barrel is:

 

Receivers Name (first and last name)

Local Post Office

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 in total for 3 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? Keep reading Part Two.

More Information: The Art of Shipping a Barrel –  Part Two

This Post was originally posted on 23rd November 2012 – Updated January 2017.

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Bless up, Jules

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