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Logistics

A New Kind of Logistics Hub

Supply Chain Excellence From Production to Destination

Logistics are essential for citizens and businesses in Puerto Rico. The island is a global logistics leader, serving as the highest volume port system in the Caribbean and the first location in the U.S. to receive a DOT waiver allowing international cargo and passenger transfer. Puerto Rico is the ideal technical stop for international flights between the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East.

900,000+
TEU*, the highest volume port system in the Caribbean

*Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit

90%
of all air cargo that passes through Puerto Rico are BioScience products
$59.8B+
in exports of merchandise in 2022

Cold Chain & Warehousing Opportunities

The pharmaceutical temperature-controlled logistics market is of critical importance to Puerto Rico’s pharmaceutical stakeholders due to:

  • The island’s sizable pharmaceutical industry contribution to its economy and exports. Puerto Rico is the United States’ largest exporter of biopharmaceuticals, $53B in total BioScience exports.
  • The growing global pharmaceutical temperature-controlled market. Puerto Rico’s existing infrastructure makes the island a natural choice for expanded pharma and medical device logistics services.
  • Reshoring efforts to mitigate supply chain risks during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. (Source: Michigan Ross School of Business)

Photo: Prime Air Corp’s cold storage warehouse at the World Cargo Center | Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport | Carolina, Puerto Rico

Air Cargo Expansion

  • Puerto Rico has 3 international airports: Luis Muñoz Marín International (SJU – San Juan), Rafael Hernández (BQN – Aguadilla), and Mercedita International (PSE – Ponce). Combined they transport over 600 million lbs. inbound and outbound of the island.
  • Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (San Juan) is the busiest cargo airport in the Caribbean, and Puerto Rico is at the center of the air routes between the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East, making it the perfect pitstop for international flights. Refueling stations save airlines money and allow them to carry more cargo.
  • Air cargo is key in supporting the trade of advanced industrial, high-value goods, and sectors that rely on rapid, dependable, and secure transport.
  • Puerto Rico’s Air Cargo Community is well-organized and is currently in the process of certification as a Center of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV Pharma). This will put Puerto Rico at the cutting-edge of a network of certified pharmaceutical trade lanes that meet consistent standards and assure product integrity to help air cargo better serve this important market. Contact us for more information.

Transshipment Waiver

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) approved order 2020-4-1o, which presents a new waiver for air cargo and passenger transfer services at Puerto Rico’s international airports to any of their other aircrafts. The waiver gives Puerto Rico the perfect opportunity to leverage its logistics expertise and establish new international travel & commercial routes, while helping companies cut costs, reduce shipping times, and ensure top quality handling of any product.

  • The option to combine airline networks creates new connection opportunities that extend each airline’s geographical reach. Airlines can now deliver cargo to places through a partner airline if their own network is limited. This lowers operational expenses, enhances services, and improves profitability.
  • Transfer and consolidation scenarios mean fewer planes with higher cargo yields to arrive at various destinations. Air carriers can load cargo from many destinations onto the same incoming plane then consolidate and transfer outgoing cargo, according to country or airport.
  • Instead of flying an empty leg, airlines can now stop in Puerto Rico to pick up cargo for their return flight. This improves aircraft utilization as well and increases earning potential, enabling better directional balance of cargo.
  • A 1% increase in air cargo connectivity translates a 6.3% increase in total trade. Source: International Air Transport Association (IATA)

Maritime Cargo

The island has three cargo ports: Port of San Juan, owned by the Puerto Rico Port Authority (PRPA); Port of Ponce (Port of the Americas), owned by the Municipality of Ponce; and the Port of Mayaguez, owned by the Mayaguez Port Commission.

  • The Port of San Juan offers a variety of services that include tugs, pilotage, fuel delivery, water supply, provisions, customs, duty-free shops, public transportation, water supply, and vessel maintenance. PRPA handles 90% of the goods moving through this port and signifies over $100 million in exportations alone.
  • The Port of San Juan is one of Puerto Rico’s most important infrastructures, given the high reliance on imports such as 85% of the food consumed and all liquid fuel. It has 16 docks ranging from cruise stops to loading docks, including the island’s largest dock for containerized and roll-on/roll-off (RO/RO) cargo, such as cars.
  • Scale AI and the Ponce Port Authority partnered to transform the Port of Ponce, Puerto Rico, into a Smart Port Lab, where AI-powered infrastructure will be researched, developed, and later shared with other shipping ports worldwide. 
  • The Puerto Rico Shipping Association represents the interests of its members by advocating to maximize the efficiency, cost competitiveness, safety, and quality of marine cargo operations in the ports of Puerto Rico.

Incentives and FTZ/OZ Benefits

Puerto Rico offers a unique package of smart tax incentives designed to help your operation grow, innovate, take risks, and hire the best talent.

  • 4% fixed income tax rate on eligible income
  • 75% exemption on property taxes
  • 50% exemption on municipal taxes
  • 100% exemption on dividends or profit distributions to shareholders, partners, or members
  • 100% exemption from property taxes on call centers, corporate headquarters, and distribution centers, for the five years of operations

Puerto Rico has the largest noncontiguous Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) system in the U.S. The island’s FTZ system includes FTZ 7 (Puerto Rico Foreign Trade Zone), FTZ 61 (San Juan Foreign Trade Zone) located in the Guaynabo area, and FTZ 163 (managed by Zona Libre del Sur), located in Ponce. Approximately 98% of Puerto Rico has been designed as an Opportunity Zone, which creates an attractive investment alternative for U.S. investors. Benefits include:

  • Deferment of federal customs duties and Puerto Rico excise taxes.
  • 100% exemption on manufacturing lead time on exports outside of the U.S.
  • 100% exemption on tangible property and equipment used.
  • 60% exemption on the value of the property that is designated intangible.
  • 100% exemption on exports from the zone and sub-zones.
Single Business Portal

Entrepreneurs and innovators that are ready to invest and transform their businesses in Puerto Rico can access the Single Business Portal (SBP). The Single Business Portal helps you navigate the ins and outs of getting your project off the ground, offering information, documents, permits, and licenses – all in a streamlined and efficient tool.

Companies already doing business in Puerto Rico

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Ready to Invest?

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Rafael Perez

Business Development Director – East Coast
+1 (201) 565-5097
rperez@investpr.org