The Bridgetown Port operates as an RS&D port - Receive, Store and Deliver, which is its prime responsibility.
The Port is administered by a corporatised company, Barbados Port Inc. In order to achieve its mission to be a high quality provider of marine, cargo and passenger handling and other related services to seaport users locally and world-wide, Barbados Port Inc. must drive efficiency among all of its stakeholders, and each player must do its part to attain an effective result.
Barbados Port Inc. has the ability to deliver cargo to consignees within a 24 to 48 hour time period, but cargo documentation has to be processed and customs clearance obtained prior to delivery.

Several Players in the Clearance Process

There are several players that operate within the Port to move cargo to its final destination. These include the Shipping Lines, Stevedores, Ships’ Agents, Consolidators, Customs Brokers, the Customs and Excise Department, and the Hauliers. Each of these stakeholders has a major role to play in ensuring efficiency at the Port.
  • Stevedore Contractor – supervises the loading and off-loading of cargo
  • Ships’ Agent – represents the shipping line in Barbados
  • Consolidator – represents one or more consignees, and acts on behalf of the importer
  • Customs Broker – is a service provider, who acts as the liaison between the consignee and the Customs and Excise Department
  • Customs and Excise Department – collects and protects government revenue, and expedites and facilitates legitimate trade and travel. This includes examination of cargo, determining value of goods for assessing customs duty, and investigation. Where required, the relevant import license must also be provided for prompt processing of cargo.
  • Hauliers – the contracters responsible for moving cargo in and out of the port.

Choice of Payment Terms

The importer can choose from one of two payment terms - Liner arrangements or FAS:
  • Under the Liner arrangements the shipping line retains responsibility through the Agent until delivery. The importer pays the shipping line at the country of origin overseas, and the agent pays the Port the applicable RS&D charges on behalf of the shipping line
  • Under the FAS (Free Along Side) arrangement, the importer pays the Port directly the applicable RS&D charges rather than through the Agent/Shipping line. The Shipping line’s responsibility stops at the Port at quayside, and is transferred to the importer

Efforts to Improve Efficiency

In 2009, Barbados Port Inc facilitated the formation of the Transportation Intermediaries of Barbados Inc (TIB), an association of Consolidators which regulates this area of operation.
In addition, the introduction of the E-Manifest that same year facilitated the submission of manifest information and disposition lists by the Ships’ Agents using the internet, prior to the arrival of cargo. Disposition lists indicate whether the container should be sent directly to the consignee or unstuffed at the Port. 
Consolidators are required to submit distribution information via the internet. Distribution lists provide a breakdown of consignees by the Consolidator. Delays in the submission of distribution lists contribute to the delay in delivery of cargo. 
All cargo sheds are fully computerized for fast and efficient access to consignments, thus speeding up the handling, storage and delivery of goods in and out of the Port.

Free Storage Days

In keeping with our consultation process, Barbados Port Inc met with representatives of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce in 2009 to discuss the Port’s free storage policy. An agreement was reached to phase in a ‘five working days free storage’ arrangement, and this has been in effect since October 2011. Having exceeded five working days free storage, charges are computed in block periods of three working days, based on tonnage.
Excess storage charges for cargo consigned to returning nationals (Barbados Networkers) and to the diplomatic corps is waived 100% on presentation of the appropriate documentation.
The Port has just under 14,000 square meters of covered storage in three sheds. Shed 2 is used for personal and household effects, while Sheds 3 and 4 are used for commercial cargo. Inter-island trade is unloaded at the Shallow Draught berth and stored at Shed 4.


According to the Barbados Harbours Regulations, 1961: Part X-181,Goods detained by the Comptroller of Customs for examination purposes shall not be liable to storage charges during the period they are so detained, that is to say, from the date the documents are ‘Stopped’ by Customs until the date of completion of examination; but any delay attributable to the importer or agent during the period of detention shall not be given benefit of such storage.’
The waiver of storage charges is a privilege, not a right. Barbados Port Inc. remains conscious of its role in facilitating importers, and recognises the constraints that sometimes cause the clearance process to exceed the free storage period.
Barbados Port Inc. continues to evaluate the operations at the Port with a view to improving efficiency among all of its stakeholders.

Did You Know?

The first ship to officially enter the newly constructed Bridgetown Harbour was the S S Diplomat?