Shipping to Gran Canaria
A comprehensive of shipping to Gran Canaria, shipping by sea, shipping by air and importing a car to Gran Canaria.
This guide was kindly written by Migrate Global Canarias, please contact them about your shipping needs - contact details at the bottom of the article.
If you are thinking of shipping your household goods to Gran Canaria, you may be wondering where to start. It is worth bearing mind that any form of international removal will be priced up based on either size (volume) or weight. Therefore if cost is an issue, you may need to start by being rather ruthless about what you plan to bring and having a good clear-out!
Accommodation often comes furnished, so check out where you plan to live first, and try to get an idea of what you will actually need, what is available here in the Canaries and what it is better to bring with you. If you have children, select some of their favourite toys and belongings, as having familiar things around them will help them settle in. Moving country can be an upheaval for little ones, and anything you can do to make the transition smoother for them will help. The hardest things to leave behind are those things of sentimental value, so most people do end up using some form of international removals or transport service. Once you have decided what you really need to ship and what can be left behind, the next thing to think about is which kind of service is best for you.
Sea Freight to Gran Canaria
If you have large, bulky or heavy items, or several boxes, then sea freight is probably the answer. Any size consignment can be sea-freighted to Gran Canaria from almost anywhere in the world. It can take some time, but is not as slow as you may think provided the shipper you use knows the best and quickest routes, and your goods travel safely as long as they are well packed and properly loaded. If you contact a shipper, be sure to ask if they regularly send goods to the Canary Islands, and find out who their local agent is. It is easy to get goods on their way to the Canaries, but when they hit port you will need somebody representing you who knows their way around procedures here. If you decide to contract a service to ‘port only’, be aware that local costs (port handling and customs) can be almost as much as the cost of sea freight all over again. It is advisable to request a door-to-door service if you can.
All goods need to be properly protected so it is a good idea to start packing up well in advance. You can have all your goods professionally packed for sea transit, you could pack the boxed items yourself and pay for professional packing of furniture, or you may prefer to knuckle down and do it all. You can even have a whole shipping container delivered to your door for you to load, then taken away and shipped here for you. All of this will depend on how much you need to ship and the amount of time and hard work you can put into it! You may need advice and guidance when trying to judge how much space your consignment will take up. Most reputable international removers will be willing to come to your home and asses the volume and packing requirements for you free of charge.
Air freight to Gran Canaria
This is much quicker of course, and if you have only a few, lighter items then not necessarily more expensive. You can still have a door-to-door service, or you may even find that you are bringing so few goods then paying some excess baggage charges when you fly is the best way. Flying your goods here with an agency specializing in international shipments will be cheaper as the kilos get higher, but for a few kilos then bringing the goods with you avoids having to clear customs at each end. Packing is just as important on air freight as it is for sea freight, so make sure your belongings are safely protected, and get some advice on this if you need it.
Driving your car into Gran Canaria
Another alternative is to pack up your car, drive down to Cadiz and us the ferry service. This can be an economical way of shipping a car to Gran Canaria, although it is not without cost and the sailing is 3 days/ 2 nights so overall it is quite a journey. Many people enjoy the adventure, though, and if you already have Canarian residency documents you are entitled a large discount on the ferry cost.
Shipping vehicles to Gran Canaria, without actually driving them, is also common practice. From some parts of Europe and mainland Spain there is a roll-on, roll-off service, whereby you put your vehicle on the ferry at one end and collect it at the other end. Currently the only option available directly from the UK or Ireland is containerized shipping, which can be costly, but which is very safe and also offers you the option of moving personal/ household goods in the same container. The usual procedure is for you to deliver the vehicle to a nominated warehouse near your UK or Ireland address, where it will be loaded on a container, secured for sea transit and shipped here for you. If you are combining this with a household removal, that side of it would be carried out as normal, with a packing service if necessary, a collection, followed by loading together with the car at the warehouse.
Importing a car to Gran Canaria
It is worth noting some important points on importing cars to Gran Canaria from the EC:
• If you have owned the vehicle for less than six months you will be taxed heavily
• If you have had a Spanish ID number (NIE) for more than a year, again you are liable to be taxed
• If you have owned the car for some time and you are a new resident in the Canaries then import tax is not payable. However, you will need to obtain a document from your local authority in your origin country before you leave to demonstrate that you have been living there. This, along with local documents (see ‘customs clearance’) will prove your exemption from import tax
• You are allowed to drive the car here for up to 6 months before putting it on Spanish plates. This procedure will involve some cost along with ‘matriculation tax’.
You may have noted that used cars in the Canaries are not always good value for money. However, you should bear the above points in mind when deciding whether to ship your vehicle to Gran Canaria.
All unaccompanied goods travelling between the Canaries and the rest of the world, including Europe and mainland Spain, have to clear customs. This is usually a paper-based procedure, although some containers are opened and inspected, but the important thing to know from the outset is the documents you will be asked for, which are NIE and certificado de empadronamiento (see ‘Paperwork’). If you have used a door-to-door removals or transport service you will simply be required to provide these documents and customs clearance will be carried out on your behalf. Otherwise you will need to appoint a customs agent to represent you and you will have to sign some further documents and provide an inventory of contents.
Import tax is sometimes payable, mainly depending on how long you have had your papers. It is charged at 5% on used household goods from the EC, with variable rates on new goods and goods from outside Europe. If you are importing new items as part of a mixed household removal they will not usually be singled out for special taxation.
Shipping Commercial Goods into Gran Canaria
If you are starting or running a business in the Canaries you may need to regularly import certain goods. It is always worth shopping around for rates, as the competition is keen and commercial shipments are usually fairly simple in terms of collection/ delivery/ customs clearance. You will certainly be charged import tax on such goods and your shipper will advise you how best to keep costs down.
Moving out of Gran Canaria
It may be that you need to export goods from Gran Canaria rather than bring them in. Most people seem to take fewer household goods with them than they originally shipped in, for obvious reasons. Others are not ‘going home’ but are moving to other locations. The procedure is very similar to importing, but it is important to find out exactly what documents are needed in your chosen destination to clear customs. Remember, you are moving out of a VAT-free zone and specific documentation will be required for you not to be charged VAT or its equivalent upon arrival of the effects in destination. This is regardless of where the goods were originally purchased, so it is worth preparing in advance. Cars can be exported VAT-free if you can state or prove that you have lived in the Canaries, owned the vehicle for more than a year, and are taking up residence in the destination you are shipping the car to.
Advice and Guidance on Removals to and from Gran Canaria
For free advice and guidance contact:
Migrate Global Canarias
International Relocation Specialists
Canaries regional head office: (34) 922 581805/ (34) 922 580749