Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is an independent nation occupying the Eastern part of the island of Hispaniola in the center of the Greater Antilles, between Cuba and Puerto Rico.

The Dominican Republic has a population estimated at close to 9 million inhabitants, and its capital city of Santo Domingo in the center of the South Coast has more than 2 million people.The official language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish, but English is widespread in the international business and shipping community.

Because of the close ties with the United States, the Dominican Republic is integrated in the North American tele-communications system, the area codes for direct dialing to the Dominican Republic from the United States are 809 y 829. Likewise the country is served by several of the major airlines with services to and from the USA, Europe and Central and South America.

The Dominican Economy

The economy of the Dominican Republic has traditionally been based on the export of tropical agricultural products such as banana, sugar, tobacco, coffee, cocoa, etc., and the mining of gold, ferronickel, cooper, bauxite, limestone and gypsum. However, in the past decade there has been a shift towards the production of fresh fruits and vegetables, tourism and industrial free zones with labor intensive manufacturing processes. As a consequence, the Dominican Republic is a relatively large importer of both raw materials and finished manufactured products in the Caribbean Basin.

Grain and grain products, fertilizers and other chemical ingredients for agricultural production, petroleum products and coal, vegetable oils and animal fats, cement and clinker are only some of the main products imported in bulk quantities. Manufactured goods of every description as well as supermarket foodstuffs are also imported along with machinery, construction equipment and other capital goods. Despite efforts to reverse the trend, the Dominican Republic has become a net importer of goods.

Currency

The Dominican peso (RD$) is the legal currency of the Dominican Republic. The Central Bank of the Dominican Republic issues and controls the currency, and establishes the rate of convertibility of the Dominican peso against the major foreign currencies. The rate of exchange for foreign vessel expenses in Dominican ports is set by the Central Bank.

Because of these controls, ship owners' requests for delivery of cash to Master in US dollars should be consulted with the agency on a case by case basis, as it is not always possible to arrange for such deliveries when the amounts requested are very large. Cash to Master in local currency is not limited, however. Crewmembers should only exchange currency at official bank outlets, as dealings in the black market are punishable by law.