More than 900,000 TEU pass through the Puerto Rico port system, making it one of the largest in the Caribbean by volume. Plus, when you add in its three airports—including the busiest cargo airport in the Caribbean—Puerto Rico has plenty of capacity for moving freight on and off the island.


If you’re starting a new business in Puerto Rico, or you’re considering working with a new supplier, it’s important to know exactly how long it will take your freight to get to Puerto Rico.


Below, we’ll offer a number of different scenarios to give you an idea of what to expect.


At the end of the day, your best bet for an exact timeline is to reach out to one of our experts, who can give you an answer tailored to your exact scenario. We’ll also walk you through the answers to a few frequently asked questions about Puerto Rico freight to give you a solid foundation on the topic.


In This Article:

First, let’s take a look at the fastest way to move freight to Puerto Rico: air freight.

Air Freight Transit Times to Puerto Rico

Air freight headed for Puerto Rico comes from all over the world. While air freight is often the fastest method to move cargo to Puerto Rico, it can also be the most expensive.


That’s why mostly high-value, time-sensitive goods are sent via air freight.

Electronics; precision instruments; textiles and leather; pharmaceuticals; high-end accessories like handbags and jewelry; fresh meat and seafood; and medical/surgical equipment are all good candidates for air freight.


How Fast Is Air Freight Shipping to Puerto Rico?

Items moving via air freight can reach Puerto Rico in as little as 1-3 days. Depending on the air freight service level you choose, it might take as long as 5-10 days. Your freight forwarder can help you select the right balance of speed and cost for your shipment.


You might also consider looking into air freight consolidations. This service level offers some of the most affordable air freight pricing available. You’ll have to sacrifice a little in terms of how fast your freight moves, but you may still get your shipment faster than if you used ocean freight.

Ocean Freight Transit Times to Puerto Rico

Ocean freight will be your most budget-friendly option for moving freight to Puerto Rico. Although ocean freight is ultimately cheaper than air freight, it also moves cargo more slowly. To give you a sense of just how long ocean freight can take, let’s take a look at a few sample transit times from around the world.


U.S. Mainland–Puerto Rico Transit Times

Ocean freight transit times from Jacksonville, Florida to San Juan, Puerto Rico can be as little as three days. From Miami to San Juan, the transit time is usually around four days.


Jacksonville, FL to San Juan, PR
3 days

Miami, FL to San Juan, PR
4 days

Cargo that goes by barge takes a little longer—6-7 days to reach San Juan from Jacksonville. Northbound cargo from San Juan can reach Jacksonville in as little as 2-3 days.


A Note About Transit Times

Keep in mind that transit time only covers the time it takes a boat to go from one port to another. Transit times don’t take into account the cut-off for receiving freight, which can be a few days prior to the sail date. Transit times also don’t account for unloading time at the destination port or how long it takes to retrieve the container from the port and make freight available for pick-up or delivery.


To get a full picture of how long it will take your freight to get to Puerto Rico, you’ll need to add a few days on either end of the transit time.


When you request a quote, we can give you a more precise timeline.

What if your freight isn’t in Florida? Our teams pick up freight anywhere in the continental U.S. Below, you’ll find a few sample transit times from other mainland U.S. origin points:



Origin ~Transit time to San Juan
New York, NY 7 days
Chicago, IL 10 days
Los Angeles, CA 18 days


Remember, these transit times only account for the time it takes for cargo to move from origin to destination. To get a full picture of how long it will take your freight to get to Puerto Rico, reach out to us.

Asia–Puerto Rico Transit Times

We work with a number of customers who source goods in Asia and ship them directly to Puerto Rico. (Learn more about shipping freight from Asia to Puerto Rico.)


Below, you’ll find a sampling of ocean freight transit times to give you a sense of how long it might take your cargo to move from various ports in Asia to Puerto Rico:


Average Asia > Puerto Rico

Ocean Freight Transit Times
  • Main China ports to San Juan: 45 days
  • Vietnam ports to San Juan: 65 days
  • Malaysia ports to San Juan: 50 days
  • Indonesia ports to San Juan: 65 days
  • Cambodia ports to San Juan: 60 days
  • India ports to San Juan: 45 days

Puerto Rico–Caribbean Transit Times

If you plan on moving your cargo from Puerto Rico to other Caribbean destinations, transit times range from just a day or two to the U.S. and British Virgin Islands to just a little over a week to destinations farther down the island chain.


Below, you’ll find several sample transit times to key Caribbean destinations. Keep in mind that there may be only a few sail dates to these destinations per week. As a result, you may need to add a few extra days in addition to the loading/unloading times to get a sense of the door-to-door timing:


Average Caribbean > Puerto Rico

Ocean Freight Transit Times
  • St. Thomas: 1 day
  • St. John: 4 days
  • Virgin Gorda: 2 days
  • St. Maarten: 2 days
  • St. Barths: 3 days
  • Dominica: 5 days
  • St. Vincent: 5 days
  • Trinidad: 5 days
  • Grenada: 8 days

Finally, to complete the picture and give you a little more background on shipping freight to Puerto Rico, we’ll tackle some frequently asked questions.


Frequently Asked Questions About Puerto Rico Freight

Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory. Because of this status, shipping between Puerto Rico and the continental U.S. is not considered international:

  • Northbound Domestic Freight:S. Customs and Border Patrol does not inspect shipments from Puerto Rico to other U.S. locations. Additionally, these shipments aren’t subject to customs duties/fees.
  • Southbound Domestic Freight:S. Customs and Border Patrol does not inspect shipments from U.S. locations to Puerto Rico. However, these shipments are subject to excise taxes paid directly to Hacienda (the Puerto Rico Department of Treasury / el Departamento de Hacienda de Puerto Rico).

The U.S. Postal Service considers mail between Puerto Rico and other U.S. destinations domestic. Additionally, cargo that moves between Puerto Rico and U.S. destinations is also considered domestic.

  • Domestic shipments to and from other U.S. destinations do not go through U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. However, domestic shipments arriving in Puerto Rico are processed through Hacienda (the Puerto Rico Department of Treasury / el Departamento de Hacienda de Puerto Rico), which collects an excise tax on incoming items.
  • International shipments arriving in Puerto Rico must clear through U.S. Customs. Afterward, they’ll be subject to excise tax and clearance by Hacienda.

If the cargo is arriving to Puerto Rico from another U.S. destination, it is not considered an export. You’ll find more information on this topic at

Domestic shipments will need documentation to clear Hacienda. This generally includes items such as a standard bill of lading, a commercial invoice, and an Electronic Export Filing (EEI) if the declared value of any commodity shipped exceeds $2,500.

Our Puerto Rico freight experts can help you prepare this documentation for your shipment.

Puerto Rico Freight Made Simple

If you’ve never moved freight to or from Puerto Rico before, you might be surprised how easy it can be—once you know the ropes.

If you need some help moving cargo to this U.S. territory, our experts would be happy to help. Just reach out for a complimentary quote to get started.

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