Free Port Regime

The Port of Montevideo is the first Terminal in the Atlantic Coast of South America to operate under the “Free Port” regime, which grants several benefits representing operational, customs and taxes advantages for those companies operating in the port site.

Accordingly, the main port of the country has a customs site where different services can be provided logistically adding value to the goods, creating a Distribution Center for the region.

Applicable law

In Uruguay the Ports Act n° 16.246 creates the “Free Port” regime mentioned above, of 1992, which establishes:


  • While being in the site, goods are free of duties and surcharges applicable to imports or in case thereof.
  • Free circulation of goods within the site.
  • Services provided within the Free Port are exempted of VAT.

Benefits related to the distribution and term of storage of goods

  • Free circulation and change of destination of goods.
  • Distribution center.
  • Transit trade.
  • Processes with goods, provided its nature is not modified.
  • Term for storing goods: 5 years (can be extended).

Certificate of Origin

  • The origin of the goods is not lost by entering the regime.
  • The effectiveness of the certificate of origin is considered as of the stored goods exit (180 days).
  • Goods can be partially divided, and certificates of derivative origin shall be issued.


  • Storage.
  • Re-packaging.
  • Re-labeling.
  • Classification.
  • Grouping and division.
  • Consolidation and not consolidation.

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