The Barbados Port will be waiving port storage fees on a case-by-case basis going back to Aug 24 where such fees have been occasioned by the Asycuda World software transition, BCCI President Trisha Tannis said on Tuesday.
Negotiations on demurrage - charges payable to the owner of a chartered ship in respect of failure to load or discharge the ship within the time agreed - will also be led by the Chamber in collaboration with the Bridgetown Port and membership will be updated on the outcome of these discussions in due course, she added.
Delivering the welcome to the chamber’s monthly luncheon and the guest speaker for the day, the incoming Comptroller of Customs Owen Holder, Ms. Tannis noted that among his career achievements had been the successful implementation of Asycuda World in other countries, adding that “the upgrade of our primary customs system” would be critical to the fulfillment of Mr. Holder’s vision of a new customs system.
She noted that the Barbados government, despite being one of the first countries to convert to Asycuda ++, now lagged the region in its Asycuda World upgrade. Ms. Tannis said the new system offered automatic verification, validation and accounting of Customs declarations, uniform application of the law and of correct duty rates and the ability to monitor and trace payment of duties and taxes, among many other benefits to the country and the government’s revenue collection efforts.
However, she said, while the benefits of the new system were what she termed “obvious”, the implementation of ASYCUDA World in Barbados over the past month “have been nothing less than extremely disruptive to the business sector of this country.”
In the chamber president’s view, “A far more robust change management plan was needed.” and “a parallel implementation could have been considered that would have allowed the teething challenges to be identified whilst not creating a backlog of unprocessed containers at the sea port.”
On a positive note, Ms. Tannis noted that customs has established a call centre and a help desk to further assist during the transition, and the The Barbados Port Inc. (BPI) would assist the Customs Department in troubleshooting.
Top: The gantry crane at the Bridgetown Port.
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