Customs Brokers not happy with Kingston Freeport penalty system
A move by the management of the Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited (KFTL) to impose penalties on its customers who miss appointments is being opposed by customs brokers.
Starting today, Kingston Freeport says it has reintroduced penalties for customers who miss their appointments as part of changes being implemented to improve operations at the port.
It says it will now apply a penalty of US$100 to customers who miss their appointment on the third occasion and an additional US$100 will be applied for every appointment missed thereafter.
But President of the Customs Brokers Association of Jamaica, Mitzie Burke Green, says its members are not happy with the penalty system.
As part of the changes, Kingston Freeport said the appointment system has been amended to only accept customers whose documents have been stamped as 'Customs Duty Paid'.
The management of the terminal says haulage contractors have now been separated and are being processed based on the type of the transaction being done noting that an express lane has been created to expedite processing.
The changes come amid persistent complaints in recent months from truckers and brokers of extremely long processing time in clearing cargo from the port.
In June and again July, haulage contractors withdrew their services to protest against the delays.
This resulted in a pile-up of uncleared cargo on the ports.
Last week, there were fresh reports of cargo vessels by-passing Jamaica due to the long waiting time to offload cargo at the port.
Stakeholders have blamed the delays on the lack of adequate manpower and equipment to efficiently handle the clearing of cargo at the port.
However, Kingston Freeport has now said it will be recruiting new staff and acquiring new equipment as part of the changes being implemented to improve operations.
It says it will also be carrying out repairs on driveways and loading areas.