Ports and Maritime sector in the Dominican Republic

Port

Dominican Republic is considered al connection point for major courier companies in the world. Its geographical location makes the country a strategic point that serves as a bridge to connect with the markets of Central America and the Caribbean.

Market overview

Within the main competitive advantages that the country has in ports, we can highlight its excellent geographical location, its port facilities and the advanced telecommunications infrastructure.

The National Port System is made up of 12 major port areas, of which six are under the direct management and operation of the Dominican state, through the Dominican Port Authority; five operate under a concession scheme, and one is private. The port of Rio Haina in Santo Domingo has the largest cargo volume, due to its 2.880 meters of dock to handle containers and general cargo, bulk liquid and solid. Caucedo port is the main container terminal in the country (handles about 1 million TEUs per year) mainly for the transshipment of goods. Other port in the province of Santo Domingo is Boca Chica and the port of Santo Domingo (general cargo, bulk and cruises). Other ports that make up the system are:

South Region

  • Barahona

  • Caba Rojo

  • Calderas

  • Puerto Viejo

Northern Region

  • Manzanillo

  • Puerto Plata

  • Samana

Eastern Region

  • La Romana

  • San Pedro de Macrois

Currently weekly services are offered in Caucedo and Rio Haina to connect the country with the rest of the world. Global top carriers such as MSC, Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd, Evergreen, Hamburg Sud, among others, include DR in rotations of their services in the Caribbean because of its potential as a connection point.

Key opportunities

  • Suppliers for the construction of the port of Maimon Bay Tourist Project

  • Security staff training

  • Concession investments for managing government-owned ports

  • Security equipment in order to meet with new international security regulations

  • Cargo handling equipment such as container cranes

  • Water and petrol supply for yachts; gantry cranes Measuring devices; marina management; X-ray equipment; radioactive detectors.

  • Measuring devices; marina management; X-ray equipment; radioactive detectors

  • Close circuit TV

  • Fenders and construction materials to build piers.

  • Berthing lines, floating security barriers, buoys, and pontoons.

Latest export opportunities in the Ports & Logistics sector

Latest export opportunities in Dominican Republic

Getting into the market

In most cases doing business in the Dominican Republic requires local representation in the form of an agent or distributor.

The appointment of a local partner/representative will only be the first step. Dominican Republic is a market in which family structures predominate in the business environment, and where personal relationships therefore are important. This requires an investment primarily of time and personal presence. Likewise, product training for the agent’s workforce is essential, as are regular updates on developments, modifications, competitor activity, etc. Therefore, regular visits to the market, especially during the early phase, are an important part of a successful interaction with the agent/distributor.

British companies wishing to approach the Dominican market are advised to undertake as much market research and planning as possible in the UK.

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) team in the Dominican Republic can provide a range of services to British-based companies wishing to grow their business in the Dominican market. Our services include the provision of market information, validated lists of agents/potential partners, key market players or potential customers; establishing the interest of such contacts in working with the company; and arranging appointments. In addition, they can also organise events for you to meet contacts or promote a company and its products/services.

The country’s legal system also is an incentive for investment. In recent years, the Dominican economy has been supported by a continuous process of regulatory modernization, which has led to a variety of measures aimed at opening and commercially integrating the economy into the international markets. Having recognized that the Dominican market depends on international economic integration, the Dominican government has chosen to generate a legal foundation that allows for sustained economic stability and growth as well as freedom and security in the commercialization of goods and services to the economy’s different participants.

Additionally, the Dominican Republic has a widespread, developed and growing physical infrastructure adjusted to the requirements of a society focused on the production and commercialization of goods and services. The Dominican roadways are amongst the best in the region, connecting practically all areas of the country. The country has modern, broad, and efficient airport and port systems formed by eight international airports and a dozen significant seaports located close to key production centres. Also, the Dominican Republic’s modern telecommunications system is one of the country’s main competitive advantages.

As in any new market you will need to use your competitive advantages to the full extent, and it is important to know which ones will be the most effective in the Dominican Republic. You will need to research the market to identify the level of demand for your product and to decide whether you should address the market as a whole or via specific niches.

The Dominican Republic is a very competitive market and it is important to take a medium to long-term view.

When considering the Dominican Republic as an export market, the following points are important:

  • Leave your preconceptions at home.

  • Keep hold of your business sense as tightly as you would anywhere else.

  • Be patient, as some things may take longer to set up than you think (especially if they involve bureaucracy). Allow for this in your preparations.

  • Take a long-term approach, but do not stick rigidly to your plans. Things often change rapidly and unexpectedly in the Dominican Republic.

  • Obtain good quality independent legal and professional advice, particularly concerning intellectual property.

  • Do your research on local business culture.

  • Consult UK Trade & Investment team in the Dominican Republic who can provide help in researching the Dominican market.

Once you have confirmed that there is a market for your product in the Dominican Republic, you may want to use the information you have gathered as a basis for developing a formal Dominican strategy. This strategy should address questions such as the form of market entry (setting up a subsidiary, distributor or agency agreement, or joint venture), identification of customers, potential partners, geographical locations, sales structure, product delivery and payment channels, and after-sales setup.

More about doing business in Dominican Republic

Contacts

Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).

To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists in country – or contact your local international trade team.

UKTI Events

UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.

Latest events in the Ports & Logistics sector

Useful links

More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters

Sectors: Marine and Ports & Logistics
Countries: Dominican Republic
Topics: Getting Started
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