How to Ship to Puerto Rico FAQs

Posted by Luis Ariza on March 1, 2016 - 1:45 PM
Puerto Rico FAQs

Frequently asked questions about shipping to Puerto Rico

Although Puerto Rico is an American territory, it has its own jurisdiction. We’ve compiled a list of detailed answers to your most-asked questions about shipping to Puerto Rico.

How do I ship commercial goods to Puerto Rico?

Shipping to Puerto Rico works very similarly to domestic shipping, only with different transit schedules and a little extra documentation (explained in more detail below). For the easiest way to ship to Puerto Rico, look for a provider that offersmultiple weekly sailings to the island via an ocean liner to receive the most reliable service.

How does ABF Freight® ship freight to Puerto Rico?

ABF Freight consolidates each load prior to sailing out of Jacksonville, Florida, to the Port of San Juan.We offer door-to-door inbound and outbound service plus air service for time-critical shipments, with full tracking and status updates available on every load. All charges are itemized on a single freight bill, including mainland U.S. transportation, ocean or air movement, island delivery and documentation fees.

We’ve shipped to Puerto Rico since 1986. Our expansive San Juan customer service center is a hub for all shipments moving to and from the island. With bilingual consultants who understand the local markets as well as taxes and duties, our Caribbean location offers the same services you’ll find in the contiguous U.S. — LTL, warehousing, expedited and time-critical shipping, and final-mile and residential delivery solutions. In addition to these services, we operate a Foreign Trade Zone in San Juan. Learn more about the benefits and features of shipping to Puerto Rico through a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) and how ABF Freight can help.

How do I track my shipment to Puerto Rico?

Every shipment includes an estimated delivery date, and our online tracking option allows you to get up-to-the-minute status information on each load. You can track by pro, bill of lading, purchase order, RMA or other customer reference number. Tracking is provided in real time with each dispatch recorded from time and date of departure to time and date of arrival at the interchange point or final destination. Email alerts for shipment status changes are also available. Once your shipment is delivered, you’ll receive delivery notification along with access to proof of delivery receipts online.

What is the estimated delivery time to Puerto Rico?

Ocean transit times vary by origin; however, standard shipping is 3 to 7 days and expedited shipping averages 2 to 5 days. Same-day or next-day air service also is available. Look up the standard transit times for ABF Freight in North America online by entering the city and state or ZIP/postal codes for the origin and destination points.

Can I expedite my shipment to Puerto Rico?

Yes. Puerto Rico is part of the United States; however, its location off the mainland means shipments can take longer to arrive than other domestic locations. For faster transit times or specific delivery dates, choose time-critical service for your shipments.

With ABF Freight, this option is particularly valuable if you need your Puerto Rico or U.S. Virgin Island shipment to make it to the mainland port in time for a specific sailing. You also can select time-definite ocean or air service to Puerto Rico.

What documents are required for shipping to Puerto Rico?

The U.S. Census Bureau requires an Electronic Export Information filing (formerly referred to as a Shipper’s Export Declaration) for all shipments destined to Puerto Rico or U.S. Virgin Islands with a declared value exceeding $2,500 (unless otherwise exempt by Federal Regulations).

It’s easy to get certification online through the Automated Export System. The U.S. Census Bureau’s AES program is a free Internet-based filing system. You can quickly receive certification to file through AES at

Other valuable resources include the Automated Export SystemSchedule B Search Facility, and many other useful forms and documents from ABF Freight to help you through the EEI process.

What information should be included on paperwork for Puerto Rico shipments?

Although shipments to Puerto Rico don’t need to clear customs, they are subject to a sales tax based on the value of the goods (noted in the commercial invoice). Shipments must be declared and released by the Puerto Rico Tax Department before delivery to the consignee can occur.

To accelerate the clearance process, you should always provide the following information:

  • Commercial invoice including description and value of the goods being shipped
  • Consignee's name, address and phone number (if available to help notify the consignee of arrival of the goods and requirement to clear taxes)
  • Tax bond number or tax-exempt identification, if available

Are shipments from the contiguous U.S. to Puerto Rico considered exports?

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, which means the borders between Puerto Rico and the U.S. are open, allowing unrestricted movement of both people and goods. There is no customs clearance requirement for U.S. shipments. And if you go there as a U.S. citizen, you don’t need a passport.

Do customs duties apply to Puerto Rico shipments?

No. Duties are not applied because Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and shipments to the island are not considered exports.

Do I have to pay taxes or fees on goods shipped to Puerto Rico?

The tax rate the Puerto Rican government imposes on most goods (excluding food and medical supplies) is 10.5 percent.

The local treasury agency has inspectors who levy this tax, which is paid by the recipient. Even though shipments to Puerto Rico from the U.S. mainland aren't considered exports, a shipper's export declaration is required for cargo valued over $2,500.

For more information, call the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in San Juan at 729-6850 or 787-729-6980. Keep in mind that because Puerto Rico is a territory of the U.S., there are no Customs and Border Protection formalities involved in trade or travel between the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico.

How much does it cost to ship to Puerto Rico?

Freight is measured on arrival at the gateway, as rates for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are based on cubic feet. A weight factor may be applied to very dense freight on the ocean freight and island delivery segments. Use our freight calculator tools to get an accurate quote online, or call 787-788-4747 for Puerto Rico shipping rates.

Can I ship door-to-door to Puerto Rico?

Yes. We provide door-to-door service, tracking and communications on shipments moving to or from Puerto Rico. We offer daily service throughout the island for pickup and delivery, as well as a full range of ocean shipping solutions, including national and international less-than-container load and full-container load options.

Puerto Rico shipping solutions from ABF Freight

Call us at 888-256-8123 or email Pam Ferrelli at for more information about shipping to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


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