Shipping to Panama

Get up-to-date local information about import procedures and restrictions, demurrage and detention, container pick-ups and more.

Customs House Brokerage

Core products

Import Customs Clearance Transit Documents
  Bonded Transit
Harmonized Tariff Code Classification Import declaration preparation and submission Special Permits and validation processing Duties and Taxes Calculations Cross-Border Clearance - All Truck Imports DMCE* (PAXPE + PAPPC Entry) – Elaboration Decreto 6 (Move to Off-Dock BD**) - Elaboration

Additional Custom House Brokerage services

PRE-SHIPMENT Consulting & special product licensing

  • New Product Entry - Permit Assessment VAS*
  • Attorney Representation - Permit Generation – VAS*
  • First Importer/Exporter - Process Advisory

What is required to complete Customs House Brokerage?

Required Paperwork

  • Original Commercial Invoice stating FOB/CIF value
  • Packing List (not mandatory)
  • Original BL (including freight charges)
  • Certificate of Origin if applicable
  • Additional Certificates if applicable (Authorities, Fumigation, etc.)

Required Information

  • Preferred HTC per line (not mandatory)
  • Written confirmation of acceptance duties & taxes pre-settlement sent by CHB before con-tainer discharge at POD.
  • Note: if no international insurance amount is declared, customs will assume 1% of declared CIF value is associated to insurance purposes.

More Requirements

  • Certificated check for duties & taxes payment.


Q: What can hold up my Customs Clearance?
A: A variety of reasons can hold up a clearance, to name a few but not limited to, would be awaiting mandatory documents, awaiting payment, customs holds, Port Authority holds and vessel delays.

Q: What is a classification number HS Code?
A: A classification number is a unique digit code that relates to a specific product and determines and determines the amount of Duty payable and the Non-Tariff Regulations required to clear the cargo.

Q: Why do I need to provide a classification number HS Code?
A: Correct classification of goods is critical to identification of cargo’s arriving into Panama and the related Non-tariff regulations required. Cargo description and technical information are required to determine the correct classification.

Q: How will I know when my shipment has cleared customs?
A:Our team will email the customer with clearance paperwork as soon as the shipment has been released from customs and is free to leave the port.

Q: Who can I contact regarding my Customs Clearance?

Q: Who will invoice me for my Customs Clearance?
A: Damco will raise an invoice with the local charges and expenses, as well as the CHB.

Q: I have a query regarding my Customs Clearance Invoice, who can I contact?

Abbreviations & Explanations

CHB = Customs House Brokerage
VAT = Value Added Tax
HTS = Harmonized Tariff Schedule
EORI = Economic Operators’ Registration and Identification
AEO = Authorized Economic Operator
POA = Power of Attorney
T1 = Transit Document which allows the movement of non-EU commodity between two customs offices (EU)
T2L = Document which proofs the EU status

Demurrage and Detention

Operator Maersk
Port/Terminal Names All Ports
Valid from 1st January 2019
Valid to 31st December 2019
Charge Type Import - Combined D&D
Commodity Codes
Transport Mode All transport modes
Service Mode All service modes
Freetime DAYS Calendar / Working Same / Next day if after
DRY 7 Calendar Same_Day
REEF 4 Calendar Same_Day
IMO 7 Calendar Same_Day
OTHER 4 Calendar Same_Day
From (Days) To (Days) Rate for 20 DRY Rate for 40/45 DRY Rate for 20 REEF Rate for 40 REEF Rate for 20' Flat & Open Top
Tier 1 8 12 USD 100 USD 100
Tier 2 13 Thereafter USD 120 USD 120
Tier 1 5 11 USD 125 USD 125 USD 125
Tier 2 12 Thereafter USD 150 USD 150 USD 150

NOR's are considered under REEF freetime (4 days) and will have a chargeable amount equal to REEF cargo.


Customs and quarantine requirements

  • Customer must present one original bill of lading.
  • Commercial invoice
  • Customer must present a customs clearance document (liquidacion de aduana),for Colon Free Zone delivery free zone document duly completed.
  • Import zoosanitary or phitosanitary and origin certificates for unprocessed animal and vegetal product.

Freight collect approval

For dry containers, charges are accepted without previous notification. For reefer, hazardous, OOG, B/B, personal effects containers are subject to pre-approval, which must be obtained before loading.

Special cargoes 

OOG, B/B and IMO cargo are subject to standard Maersk Line approval procedures. 

Types of BLs

Negotiable Bill of Lading (Original Bill of Lading):

1.    This BL can be printed and send by shipper via courier from origin
2.    Shipper can request Telex Release order
3.    Original BL printing can be assigned by shipper from origin for consignee to be able to print at Panama

Please note this BL can be endorsed
Non Negotiable Sea Waybill
Consignee requires a copy or certified true copy of this BL to seal the release. If you require a freighted or not freighted copy of this BL, you may kindly send an email to to request the copy.

Necessary Documentation for Release:

1.    Official letter of authorization stating responsible person to withdraw release at the counters on behalf of the company
2.    Check or deposit slip paying the import charges
3.    BL originals or Sea Waybill copy

Necessary Documentation to retrieve transport orders:

1.    Booking confirmation
2.    Official letter containing the responsible person to retrieve the documentation on behalf of company (Name, ID, Trucking Company Name, Plate)
3.    ID or passport copy of the person signing the official letter


Email Adresses for Customer Service Panama

For your convenience and in the means to improve our response time, we kindly remind you the email adresses we have for each areas in a shipment.
Booking confirmations Arrival Notice Cutoffs 
Documentation/Cargo Delivery Extensions
Booking / BL Amendments that are not feasible using webpage Freighted/ Not-Freighted BL Copies (Import Shipments) Booking Rolling Letters
Destination Release Import Detention Confirmation
Re-exports Release Enquiries, Telex Release Enquiries Containers Relations
Triangulations Late Addition Application
General Export Enquiries

In For inland service coordination (Store Door)

Please contact:


  • Road Weight Limitation in Panama: 31,900 Kg (GROSS WEIGHT) for 20', 40' and 45'units. For units that exceed this weight, a fine will be received from Local Transit Authority according to local laws. 
  • Not acceptable in PABLB, PAMAN IMO CLASS 1.1/1.2/5.1 (UNNO 1490)/7

Contact us

If you want to speak to a sales person about a new shipment or if you have a question about your existing shipment, you can email us and we will respond within the next two days. If you have a more immediate question, you can search for help online.