How to Ship
Cargo from Puerto Rico to the US Virgin Islands
All shipments from Puerto Rico to the USVI require a commercial invoice for the goods being shipped. This invoice must list the value of the goods as well as their country of origin (for ALL commercial goods such as lumber, food products, and electronics). A store receipt will suffice for household goods. We will also need contact information – name, address, and telephone number – for the consignee.
Vehicles (cars, trucks, boats, and motorcycles) have additional paperwork requirements. Please click HERE for detailed instructions.
Do I need a booking?
No. Shipments of general merchandise can simply be dropped off with us during regular receiving hours. For shipments of larger items (containers, heavy equipment, boats, etc.) we do recommend that you call the office the week of shipment to make a reservation, as we do often fill up.
Do I need a cargo broker?
In most cases, no. Provided you can access the new VIBIR system, it is reasonably quick and easy to clear your goods yourself. The only exception to this is for high-value foreign shipments that require a formal entry, in which case you will need to have a broker do this for you.
How soon can I expect to pick up my cargo?
All cargo will be offloaded from the vessel and physically available for clearance and pick up the day of vessel arrival each week – Monday in St. Thomas, and Tuesday in St. Croix.
Do I have to pay any money to Customs or Excise Tax?
That depends on the nature and value of the shipment. U.S. origin goods are exempt from CBP duties, but may require payment of excise tax. Foreign goods will require duties. A link to specific information can be found here: http://export.gov/logistics/eg_main_018138.asp
I’d rather just have someone do all of this for me. Can you recommend a broker and trucker?
Yes. We work with all the major brokers and trucking firms on both islands. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to recommend someone who would work best for your shipment.
Cargo shipped from St. Thomas to St. Croix (and vice versa) does not require any clearances or duties, as both islands are part of the same CBP territory. For general merchandise and household goods, simply bring your items to our dock office during normal receiving hours, and we will ship them for you. If you are shipping a car or other vehicle, please bring a photocopy of the registration with you as that is required for documentation. There is no longer any need to perform a lien search or VIN check for vehicles shipped within the USVI. Additional details about vehicle shipping can be found HERE.
If you are shipping vehicles, containers, heavy equipment, boats or other large items, please call us at (340) 244-6640 to make an advance reservation, or send an email to email@example.com
Do I need to clear my cargo when it arrives?
No. St. Thomas and St. Croix are both part of the same CBP territory, so no clearance or payment of taxes or duties will be required.
Can you ship food? Plants? Live animals?
Yes, we can handle all of these. Please note however that, due to the current schedule, ALL animals travelling from STX to STT must have a valid health certificate as the vessel stops in Tortola enroute to STT.
These instructions apply to all cargo from both St. Thomas and St. Croix to San Juan – including vehicles, merchandise being returned, and household goods.
All cargo coming from the USVI into Puerto Rico requires an advance booking. In order to make your booking, please be prepared to provide the following information:
Shipper’s name, address, and phone number (in the USVI)
Consignee’s name, address, and phone number (in Puerto Rico)
Consignee’s EIN and Merchant Register Number (if a business), or Social Security Number (if a private individual). We may already have this information on file if this is a company that ships regularly.
Description of merchandise being shipped
Submit your booking by email to Desiree at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not have access to email, call her at (787) 565-4778 or (787) 723-4114.
THE DEADLINE FOR BOOKINGS IS 12:00 NOON ON TUESDAY. THIS IS DUE TO CBP SUBMISSION DEADLINES AND IS NOT NEGOTIABLE. CARGO NOT ENTERED ON TUESDAY’S MANIFEST CANNOT BE SHIPPED UNTIL THE FOLLOWING WEEK.
Vehicles have additional export paperwork requirements in the USVI. If you are shipping a vehicle, let us know and we will provide you with additional instructions.
The vessel arrives in San Juan on Friday each week, at which point your cargo will be unloaded. CBP will perform an initial inspection on all shipments, which typically takes 2 – 3 working days. Vehicles will also be inspected by Hacienda which may take additional time.
Once CBP has inspected your shipment, our office will notify you to begin the clearance process. This notification will include specifics as to whether you need to clear Hacienda (Puerto Rico excise tax) and / or US Customs.
The clearance for excise tax should be done online (except for vehicles and heavy equipment). This is done using the SURI system, which is available in both Spanish and English, following the instructions for “Import Declaration”. You will need to register yourself as a user and have your Bill of Lading number (which we will provide to you) available. Once complete, retain the printed copy of the release certificate which we will need in to see before we can release your cargo. The link to the system in English is: https://suri.hacienda.pr.gov/_/
Clearance for US Customs must be obtained in person at their office in the Free Trade Zone (Zona Libre) in Guaynabo. Use “Zona Libre de Comercio” in Google Maps, or this link: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Zona+Libre+de+Comercioemail@example.com,-66.1178144,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x8c03696acb225149:0x5e74253491d733e9!8m2!3d18.4259268!4d-66.1178144. When you arrive at the security gate, the guard will instruct you as to the exact location of the building (as it has changed since the hurricane!) Bring them the signed copy of your Bill of Lading (which we will provide to you) for them to stamp.
Bring both the printed release from SURI and stamped Bill of Lading from Customs to our office at Pier 10. Be sure to have a government-issued photo ID with you, which is required to enter the port facility. We will then dispatch your cargo to you.
Please note that all customers have five working days to pick up their cargo from us (after vessel arrival) without incurring any storage fees.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do I need a cargo broker?
In most cases, no. (Although, if you call a broker, they will almost certainly tell you yes.) Private individuals or small companies sending household goods, personal items, or small amounts of commercial goods for return or repair should be able to self-clear their shipment. You will need a valid government ID (such as a drivers license), internet access, and your own transportation (as the Customs office is a ten-minute drive from our facility at Pier 10). If you would prefer to use a broker, let us know and we can provide you with a recommendation.
How soon can I expect to pick up my cargo?
All cargo will be offloaded from the vessel on Friday morning each week. Currently, CBP does not inspect our cargo until early the following week, usually on Tuesday. We will notify you once your shipment is in the system and ready to start the clearance process. We unfortunately cannot guarantee cargo availability dates as CBP operations are beyond our control.
Do I have to pay any money to Customs or Hacienda?
That depends on the nature and value of the shipment. Commercial goods usually require duties, whereas household goods in transit do not. Call our office if you have specific questions.
Can someone else clear my shipment for me?
No. Due to Homeland Security regulations, only the approved consignee (whose name appears on our manifest) may appear at Hacienda to clear their shipment. The only exception to this is for consignees who chose to use authorized brokers, in which case the broker can handle the clearance for you. If you are shipping a vehicle back to Puerto Rico, please ensure that the legal owner of the vehicle is listed as the consignee and is available to handle the clearance. Once the shipment is cleared, however, it is fine to have someone else physically pick up your cargo here at the port.
How long do I have to clear my cargo?
Shipments have five working days to leave the port after vessel arrival. After that, Port Authority may (at their discretion) impose additional storage fees. Please plan to complete the process and pick up your cargo by Friday the week following vessel arrival.
Additionally, all cargo that does not begin the clearance process ten business days after arrival here in San Juan will be considered abandoned and sent to a bonded warehouse. You will then need to call the warehouse agent to retrieve your cargo.
Where are you located? Where are Hacienda and Customs?
Our office is located at Pier 10 in Puerta de Tierra. Hacienda is located within walking distance of our office in Old San Juan. Customs is located in Zona Libre in Guaynabo.