Shipping a vehicle from Panama to Venezuela (2005)
Shipping Southbound: Panamanian authorities require a document from the Policia Tecnica Judicial, allegedly to prove that it hasn't been in an accident, no tickets and that the temporary tourist importation is still valid. You should leave half a day just in case - going first thing in the morning is best. From the Police office, they will escort you across the street to where you will get a document from the Customs Office saying it is OK to ship your car from the port. Be sure to make at least three copies of the documents.
Be sure to make lots of copies of your vehicle title and registration, your passports and even print up color fakes of your drivers' licenses. If stopped always give your copies to the police, never give up an original if you can. Every time you enter a country, be sure to make up a copy of your Temporary Import Permit, or two. Again, donít give the police the original of your Import Permit, just a copy. The logic being you don't want to have to pay something to get an original back, you can just drive off without the copy if necessary - as we had to do once outside of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
For the Panama to Venezuela shipping, our shipping company was Wallenius Wilhelmsen. They are the largest Roro shipper in the world. We checked other companies but schedules change so often that no one else was able/willing to help us. The agents we used were great. Very helpful and knowledgeable about the ports. In Venezuela, very few vehicles ship through the country on temporary import status that no one really knew the procedure.
In Venezuela we had our agents draft a letter, in Spanish, that said that we wanted to temporarily import our vehicle according to Acticles 107/146/147 of the book of Organic Law. They should describe the make, type, year, color, plate number and VIN of your vehicle. It should list the owners and passport numbers, details of the shipping lines, name of the ship, journey number, port of loading and port of unloading, tourism as the reason for travel, and the city by which you plan to depart overland. Also bring along some copies of your Bill of Lading for your vehicle.
After you get your customs approval from SENIAT, the customs office, you will need the agent to prepare a "Liberacion de Carga" to give to the storage lot where your vehicle is. Again make sure you have copies of everything since everyone you will deal with will ask you for copies. Make copies of your Venezuela tourist card too.
Our agent in Puerto Cabello was Paragua Maritima. Our contact there was Ms. Haydee Silva, firstname.lastname@example.org . Their port agent was Gilberto Moncada, email@example.com. All the shipping agents we met spoke English. On the Panama side, our agent was Barwil Agencies, S.A. You will want to visit the Panama City office to complete all of your paperwork. Barwil does not have a presence in Puerto Cabello.
We did not have to pay any bribes to grease the wheels in either country.