The PCS - The potential impact on doing business in Jamaica
This is the second in a series on the implementation of Jamaica's port community system.
As a result of the expansion of maritime transport in recent decades, flexible and fast exchange of information has become a key competitive factor in the logistics chain as a whole or between individual ports. The aim of the Port Community System (PCS) is to ultimately reduce the net cost for trade and logistics transactions.
The role of ports, as intermodal and distribution centres, is crucial to the cost and reliability of the whole logistics chain. Shippers and carriers select individual ports, not only based on their cargo handling, but also on value-added services offered.
The experience at many ports worldwide has shown the significant gains to be made by developing a PCS. Such systems enhance productivity by reducing the overall amount of clerical work undertaken to complete a trade or logistics transaction. The PCS will provide a means of capturing information once and allowing controlled access by all appropriate members of the port community.
Wasted effort is avoided because duplication of entry and storage of data is reduced to a minimum. The implementation of a PCS entails benefits for port-community stakeholders, direct and indirect, but also benefits for final-port users such as importers, exporters and shipping lines.
The benefits for the final port users are mainly in the form of a reduction of documents required to be printed; reduction of lead times; and a higher reliability of cargo deliveries and shipments, which contribute to increased competitiveness for the trade in Jamaica.
Globally, investors also utilise the World Bank's Doing Business and Logistics Performance Index reports to assess the business climate and quality of logistics services within any given country. It has been consistently shown that countries that have implemented PCSs have seen significant improvements in their ratings for these reports, thus making the country more attractive to potential investors.
significant organisational change
It must, therefore, be highlighted that the implementation of a PCS is a significant organisational change within port communities, as it will significantly impact on the operational procedures for these companies.
For this reason, one of the main priorities of the project is to appropriately identify the impacts of the PCS on stakeholders' current processes, and the establishment of a comprehensive change-management strategy and communication plan.
This work will surely be an essential pillar for the success of the project.
The Jamaican PCS is expected to allow for integration of port stakeholders, which will give community members access to pertinent data and will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of their interactions. It is also intended to enhance the competitiveness of Jamaica's import/export trade and transhipment, by raising the required level of functional readiness of the members of the port community.
The solution will have to integrate with e-government initiatives, Customs' ASYCUDA World and Private Stakeholders to deliver a totally integrated, accessible value-added electronic service to the Port Community.