Things to consider when shipping to Barbados

When importing goods to Barbados, there are some key elements of the international shipping process that you’ll want to be familiar with. It’s good to know some of the main things that may affect your overall cost of shipping to Barbados such as import duties and taxes, as well as other considerations relating to the type, weight and size of your cargo, and the mode of transportation you will use to dispatch your goods. Here’s our helpful guide on what to consider when shipping personal effects to Barbados.

What costs are involved?

Although the total cost of importing personal goods will vary from item to item, there are some general Barbados Shipping Tariffs to be aware of.

Import duty

Barbados is a full member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and has implemented CARICOM’s Common External Tariff for goods. Import duties range from 0-20 percent (as at October 2020), however according to the International Trade Administration, higher duty rates apply to shipping items such as:

  • Fruits and vegetables (40%)
  • Jewelry (60%)
  • Motor vehicles (45%)
  • T-shirts (115%)

Environmental levy

A 1% environmental levy is also added to your cost of importing goods to Barbados. Higher environmental levy rates apply to items like new motor vehicles (US $750 per vehicle), refrigerators (US $7.50 per refrigerator), and television sets (US $5 per set), and all goods imported in containers that are not made of plastics, glass, metal or paperboards additionally incur a 0.75% environmental levy on the cost, insurance and freight value of the item.

Excise tax

An excise tax is charged by the Barbados Government on shipping to Barbados at rates ranging from 5-60% on the following categories of goods:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tobacco products
  • Motor vehicles
  • Petroleum products
NOTE: A full list of exempt items is available from the Barbados Customs Department.

Value-Added Tax (VAT)

The VAT is currently levied at 17.5% on most goods and services imported into Barbados. Again, there are exemptions – many basic food products and some goods and services have been zero-rated or exempted from this tax.

How do I calculate my import costs?

When calculating the overall cost of importing your personal items into Barbados, you will need to consider the type of goods, weight, value, and dimensions of your package.

Total import cost involves a freight charge (for transporting the goods) as well fees associated with (but not limited to):

  • Insurance
  • Handling
  • Customs clearance
  • Duties and taxes
  • Customs brokerage

To get more of an idea of the specific cost of shipping your cargo to Barbados from the US, try using this Easy Ship duties and taxes calculator.

What mode of shipping is best?

Xpress Freight Services offers both air and sea freight services for shipping to Barbados. To help make your decision easier, consider the following: Air freight This is a faster, safer, and more reliable form of transportation however tends to be more expensive, have stricter regulations, and is limited by the weight and size (dimensions) of your goods. This is a good option for low volume shipping to Barbados for items like clothing, electronics, and office supplies.

Sea freight Shipping to Barbados by sea is a cheaper option and is more suited to larger and heavier items, and for high volume shipping, however timeframes to receive your goods are considerably longer than with airfreight. You may also wish to consider how your shipment to Barbados will affect the environment. According to Transporteca, the environmental impact of airfreight is huge in comparison with sea freight.

Xpress is here to help

Our Xpress staff are experienced to manage both your air and sea shipping needs. We also provide a Customs brokerage service to facilitate quick and efficient communication with Customs. We adhere to safe and reliable international shipping standards, with strict quality control protocols, to ensure your goods are imported into Barbados exactly how you expect them to be.

We operate under the best industry standards in the shipping business so you can rest assured your imported EV will arrive safe and sound, in reasonable time, and ready to hit the road.

For more information, contact us at 305-591-0037, email or  follow us on social media.