Roll out of Port Community System under way
Businesses can start using electronic commerce for transhipment activities on a local website linked to a wider network called the Port Community System (PCS) that cost US$8 million to create.
The system developed by French company Soget SA, with oversight from the Port Authority of Jamaica, comes together online at JamaicaPCS.com.
Initially, PCS will facilitate transhipment activities, followed by imports in October 2016, and then exports by January 2017.
It will allow stakeholders to make online payments, process forms and track cargo online rather than physically go to the ports, Jamaica Customs, or any other agency to conduct cargo business.
"The PCS is a single point of contact that manages all the trade logistics business processes," said Soget Project Manager Benoit Basset at the launch on Tuesday. "It will improve productivity, enhance transparency and security at ports," he said.
Commissioner of Customs Major Richard Reese welcomed the electronic platform, saying it has been a decade in the making and touting its expected savings.
"The PCS will improve doing business. The first phase will involve the implementation of transhipment, so importers and customs brokers will save $87 million on paper entries using Asycuda World and $57 million will be saved by shipping lines, given the fully automated transhipment bill processing using Asycuda World and PCS," he said.
"With Asycuda World, Customs will benefit from 10 per cent reduction in administrative cost and 10 to 20 per cent increase in revenues."
LOGISTIC RANK BOOST
These improved efficiencies are also expected to boost Jamaica's faltering logistics rank, according to Dr Horace Chang minister with responsibility for water, works and housing in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.
"The PCS will go a far way in helping to reverse these trends and move Jamaica on a competitive par with First-World countries such as Spain, France and England, which have all implemented the PCS," said Chang at the launch.
Jamaica's ranking worsened from 70 to 119 in the world in the World Bank's logistics performance index for 2016. Chang argued that the report expressed satisfaction with the island's customs practices and trade infrastructure.
Notwithstanding Chang's assertion, the authors of the report separately told Wednesday Business that Jamaica's lowest score was on trade-related infrastructure and the quality and competence of its logistics services (see related story on Page C5).
"It pointed out that other key metrics require improvement, including logistics quality and competence, cargo tracking, tracing abilities and the timeliness of trade procedures," said Chang at the PCS launch.
Port Authority headed by Professor Gordon Shirley, meantime, is touting its US$8-million investment as the means to revolutionise Jamaica's trade and logistics industry over the next five years in documentation about JamaicaPCS.com issued at the press conference.
This article has been updated to correct the quote by Commissioner Reese.