Maritime transport plays a very important role in the Dominican trade, with about 90% of goods entering and leaving the country by sea.

The country currently has 14 major ports, with the busiest being located in Santo Domingo. The ports are monitored and operated by the Dominican Port Authority (APORDOM), who may in turn grant the administration to a private person, with no restriction on foreign capital, although they must establish a local agent to represent them. Similarly, foreign companies can provide any service at sea in Dominican ports, provided they have authorization APORDOM and have established a local agent for representation.
Companies providing services and port managers are free to set prices for their services, although there are a number of government rates set by Decree of which ships flying a Dominican flag are wholly or partially exempt. Any ship can get a Dominican flag irrespective of the nationality of their owners, provided they have a valid address in the Dominican Republic.
Finally, although the law provides that cabotage services, passenger transport, stevedoring, etc must be provided by Dominican flag vessels, the current absence of a national fleet makes this provision momentarily not in application.