Is your business growing? Are you looking to expand into Latin America?

Panama may be a small in size but it is big in stature. It is the place to do business in Latin America for several reasons. Most noticeably, Panama is safe, especially in comparison to other Latin American countries, most businessmen and company executives speak fluent English, there are regular direct flights from a number of US cities and the U.S. dollar is legal tender.

The key to Panama’s success is its location and importance as a trade hub. The Panamanian economy is historically based on trade not manufacturing so the opportunity exists to ship and sell a multitude of products in the country itself or move further into Latin America. Panamanians are pragmatic and trade-oriented and the countries ambition to be a conduit to the Americas is apparent in the investment that is being made in infrastructure. If you are serious about doing business in the Americas, then Panama is the best place to base your operation and easily access the Latin American and US markets.

For shipping to Panama and surrounding area, that company is LAC!

Shipping to Panama

Establishing your business in Panama is all about making the right connections. At LAC we have the knowledge and expertise to help you establish yourself in Panama by ensuring that your cargo arrives safely and on time, every time. We speak the language, know the culture and understand how things work in Panama. This enables us to add value to your business and help you achieve your sales goals. Shipping to Panama is easy and convenient if you have the right partners and our years of experience have made us one of the leading freight forwarders shipping to and from Panama.

Important Import Information

Arms, ammunition, fertilizers and certain foods require special import permission that must be obtained from the Ministry of Security. The import process in Panama is smooth and efficient and most products do not require any import licenses, a commercial or industrial license is sufficient to import most goods into the country.

Import documents that are required include:

  • Import declaration
  • Commercial invoice
  • Airway bill
  • Bill of lading
  • Commercial license number
  • Phytosanitary certificate (where applicable)
  • Certificate of free sale (if required)
  • Certificate of origin

Custom Issues

Logistics companies and Customs Agents have reported inconsistencies in the application of standards and inefficiencies in the computer systems that are used to carry out the required tasks. Although Panama is the main logistics hub of this region, employers and brokers have pointed out the presence of issues, such as poor management of the SIGA computer system, impacting service and impeding an increase in the competitiveness of Panamanian trade abroad. It is commonly believed that at some point or other, everyone gets held up when they have to deal with customs there.

Useful information about Panama

  • Main imports: Fuels, Machinery, Vehicles, Iron and Steel rods, Pharmaceuticals.
  • Main cargo airports: Tocumen International airport, José María Córdova international airport.
  • Main container ports: Balboa, Cristobal, Panama city, Colon, Manzanillo.

Tips for Shipping to Panama

Panama is also Latin America’s leading recipient of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as a percentage of GDP. In 2013, total FDI was USD 4.7 billion, which represented 9% of the economy. The Panamanian government also offers several different tax incentive programs, varying by sector and commercial activity.

  • Pack your container carefully. Make sure the contents of your container is able to handle extremes of temperature and humidity inside the container. Containers that go through the Panama Canal and around the Cape are subject to extreme conditions while in storage and transit.

  • Always declare any organic cargo. Plants, vegetables, and fruit are all treated differently depending on the origin and destination of the shipment. If customs finds any undeclared organic cargo they will quarantine your container and charge a daily holding fee.

  • Insurance is essential. No matter how careful you are, not all cargo makes it safely all the time and proper cargo insurance is essential.

  • Plan for the unexpected. There are many companies and handlers that are involved in the shipping process, like trucking companies, crane operators and Port Authorities, this means that there can be unexpected delays and unforeseen complications. It is important to allow enough time for your cargo to be shipped and to have a plan in place to deal with issues that arise during the process.

  • Know the Ports As in any business, knowledge is key and it is important to have a general working knowledge of the five main ports in Panama and their distribution networks.

  • Size matters. When working out your ocean freight costs the size of your cargo is more important than the weight. The two standard container formats are the 20s and 40s, and costs are based on the rate of the container, not the weight of the contents. When working out your costs, you also need to take into account the cost of warehousing fees when you ship to Panama.

Choose LAC: Your best logistics partner when shipping to Panama

For expert advice and to get the process started, call us today at 1-877-522-7447 Or send us an email using the form below:

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