Fri | Dec 9, 2016

Customs to begin pilot phase of ASYCUDA in December

Published:Tuesday | November 25, 2014 | 12:00 AM
From left: Jamaica's director of tourism, Paul Pennicook; Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Dr Wykeham McNeill; World Travel Awards president, Graham Cooke, and vice-president, cruise shipping and marina operations, Port Authority of Jamaica, William Tatham with the five awards Jamaica won at the recent 2014 World Travel Market in London, England.

The Jamaica Customs Department will commence the pilot phase of Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) World system in December. ASYCUDA World replaces the existing Customs management system, CASE II.

It is anticipated that the pilot phase will begin with exports and will last for 12 weeks. Following this phase, the system will be rolled out across the island in several modules.

What is ASYCUDA?

ASYCUDA stands for Automated System for Customs Data. The system evolved over four generations from ASYCUDA v1, ASYCUDA++ up to the current version - ASYCUDA World.

Asycuda World is web-based and supports paperless declaration processing through use of electronic documents.

In 2013, the JCA decided to upgrade from CASE to ASYCUDA World in order to respond to the ever- changing business needs, and also to ensure Jamaica Customs was ready to play its part in allowing the country to capitalise on the Panama expansion and also bolster the logistics hub initiative. Asycuda World is more robust and flexible and, therefore, able to adapt and allow Customs to respond in an agile manner to facilitate the business environment of trade.

When will the system become available?

The system is being implemented in four phases:

Phase 1 - Prototyping

Phase 2 - Implementation at pilot sites

Phase 3 - Roll out to all other sites

Phase 4 - Capacity building for long term support

Piloting of the system is planned for December 2014, focusing on exports from the Port of Kingston. The pilot will run for a few months before rolling out other regimes such as import and transhipments. It will then roll out to the port of Montego Bay, other ports and international airports.

Why is it important and what exactly is it expected to fix?

JCA currently has several applications that it wishes to consolidate into an integrated platform in order to realise greater efficiencies in trade facilitation and service delivery.

ASYCUDA World is a web-enabled system that allows traders/agents to submit their declarations for clearance of goods through Customs from anywhere using the Internet.

Other benefits include:

It is possible to attach and submit supporting commercial documents electronically

Paperless declaration processing

The system can easily interact with other IT systems specifically other Government agencies.

What kind of Impact will it have in clearance of consignments at the ports?

It will save clearance time as most if not all paper intensive formalities will be automated.

Easing the clearance process and will encourage voluntary compliance

Improved management and statistical reporting, to facilitate government planning.

Communication - ASYCUDA World has its own built-in messaging system which also supports attachments. For example, you can attach a declaration and forward it to another user for further action.

How does it work?

The ASYCUDA World application runs on most Java-enabled computers such as Windows, Linux and Mac. A client needs a relatively current computer (laptop or desktop with recommended 4GB of random access memory and broadband Internet connectivity.

One then has to log in to the ASYCUDA World system and this will enable one to monitor the status of one's declarations from anywhere as long as there is Internet connectivity.

Electronic notification messages in the form of emails and SMS can be sent to the traders at various stages of declaration processing.

How reliable is the new system and has it got a fallback in case of interruption and/or disruptions?

ASYCUDA World has been successful in most countries in the Caribbean. The JCA is confident that the system will be a success in Jamaica. However, fallback procedures will be in place in the unlikely event of system unavailability.

What are some of the challenges the system could have?

Jamaica's telecommunications infrastructure is close to world-class standards, a robust infrastructure is in place for ASYCUDA with zero downtime expected outside of any scheduled system maintenance.

In order to effectively use the system, users must have relatively up-to-date computers and peripherals such as document scanners.

Is this system going to be used at all Customs locations or only in Kingston?

The system will gradually be available at all JCA Customs offices on a phased basis. By December 2016, it will be in use at all Customs stations nationwide.

What are the immediate and long-term benefits of this system to the tax payer?

It will significantly reduce unnecessary delays in the clearance processes.

The system also offers a platform for linking other government agencies.

Further, the system will ensure transparency and credibility by sending real-time feedback to taxpayers.

How will ASYCUDA World specifically improve clearance times?

ASYCUDA World offers the opportunity for multi-agency risk management which will allow independent risk profiles by each border agency to be applied during declaration processing.

Faster declaration processing - this is available even before undertaking detailed business process re-engineering because of the elimination of the need to move physical documents from one process stage to another. For example, customs can immediately start processing a declaration as soon as a payment is registered at the bank.

Single Window platform - Asycuda World offers a platform which other Government agencies can use for enabling electronic permits and licensing.

Use of pre-arrival information

Capability to use multiple devices - Asycuda World offers the capability to use mobile devices for examining officers to update the inspections. It also offers quick retrieval of entries using devices like barcode readers, Scanners, etc., which can be used by mobile teams.