New US$8-million PCS to increase port revenue

Major Richard Reese, CEO & commissioner of Jamaica Customs Agency, has expressed confidence in the newly implemented port community system (PCS), noting that the implementation of its transhipment module alone is expected to save shipping lines approximately $57, given the fully automated Trans-shipment Bill (TSB) Processing System provided by the integration of ASYCUDA World and the PCS.

The port community system, which was launched on Tuesday, July 12 at the Spanish Court Hotel’s Valencia L & M, is a paperless system which will manages all trade, logistics and business processes at the ports in real time.

Speaking at the launch event, Major Reese said the electronic platform would have a major positive impact on revenue from port services.

“The implementation of the port community system’s transhipment module will facilitate a 10 per cent reduction in administrative costs and 10-20 per cent increase in revenue. The PCS will be integrated with the Jamaica Customs system, ASYCUDA, to improve operations across all air and sea- ports,” he said.

Also speaking at the launch, Dr Horace Chang, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation with responsibility for Water, Works and Housing applauded The Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), the Jamaica Customs Agency and the Shipping Association of Jamaica for their efforts in launching the Port Community System.

He said the introduction of the PCS was timely, against the background of the expansion of the Panama Canal and the port services Jamaica can now offer.

“The PCS will provide the platform for Jamaica’s trade facilities by providing First World logistics services to the air and sea port communities, thereby positioning our ports as one of the finest in the world,” Chang noted.

PCS will simplify the processing of documents and promote transparency, while ensuring total modernisation of the port facilities in Jamaica when completed over the next two years. More than US$8 million has been invested by the PAJ in PCS, which will be integrated with Jamaica Customs’ ASYCUDA World platform.

Similar systems have been successfully implemented in countries such as the UK, Spain and France.

“One of the key things that we are trying to do for the port community is build brand equity for Jamaica… if you look at the region, Jamaica is a first mover in terms of port community systems,” Dwain Powell, director of PCS Operators, remarked.

Making reference to the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index (LPI), Powell warned that Jamaica cannot sit on its laurels and expect that hings will change.

“It brings into sharp focus the results of the World Bank’s LPI, and what it shows is that if you are happy without having to always evolve and always revolutionising what you’re doing, you will fall back. We don’t see it (changes in global trans-shipment) as a threat; we see it as an opportunity in terms of improving the environment, collaborating and moving forward together,” he argued.

To be transparent in the implementation process, he said, and to ensure there were no surprises, all stakeholders had an equal voice and contributed to the final solution.

In the meantime, minister of state in the Ministry of Finance Fayval Williams affirmed the need for Jamaica to prepare for the global opportunities to be gained from the implementation of PCS and, moreover, the modernisation of Jamaica’s port community.

She said that with global trade-to-gross domestic product ratio increasing from 40 per cent in 1990 to 60 per cent in 2014, and even more rapid and spectacular changes expected in the next quarter of a century, this was an indication of trade openness with major trading partners.

“It is because of these technological forces that the nature of the global environment is profoundly changing, and with it the political, social and institutional structures needed to sustain [the industry],” Williams stated, adding that the changes have resulted in the reduction of trade barriers, according to the World Trade Organization.

These changes in the global logistics industry, and the challenges which come with them — such as high volumes of licences and permits required by regulatory agencies, lack of transparency, bureaucratic red tape, abdication of roles — necessitated that Government respond, Williams said.

“In response to this the Government of Jamaica is currently developing a facility that will allow trade and related documents that are required when conducting import, export, trans-shipment and transit to be submitted. The Trade Facilitation Task Force will lead in this endeavour and is fully supported by the Ministry of Finance,” she said.


Jamaica Observer
Published Date: 
Wednesday, July 20, 2016