Barbadian delegation hails tour of Jamaica’s Port Community System a success
A delegation from Barbados has hailed its recent visit to the Port of Kingston, part of a study tour to garner more information about Jamaica’s Port Community System (PCS), a success. The PCS is implemented and managed by the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) as an online portal that connects all the major port community stakeholders – port terminals, truckers, freight forwarders, shipping agents – with government regulators such as the PAJ and the Jamaica Customs Agency.
CEO of Barbados Port Inc David Jean-Marie, who led the delegation, said the tour was a success. “It was excellent. We observed many things here. We are here to see how your PCS functions. We will take away some of the best practices as we move on to develop our own port community system.”
The online system allows for the seamless electronic sharing of data among port industry players, to ensure a smoother and more timely cargo clearance process. It facilitates appointments for cargo pick-up and delivery, as a means of enhancing the operational efficiency of stakeholders within the port community. Prior to PCS, these port functions were largely paper-based and manual.
Dwain Powell, Port Community System project manager at the PAJ, noted: “The Port Authority of Jamaica, as the lead implementer for the PCS within Jamaica, is pleased with the productivity and efficiency gains achieved by its stakeholders.
“The Jamaican port community and the wider economy should be proud of the strides made in recent years as it relates to trade facilitation and logistics.” Powell added, “Jamaica, through the Port Authority of Jamaica, the Jamaica Customs and the terminal operators on the Port of Kingston, has made significant investments in improving trade facilitation, not just for international clients, but more importantly for customers in the local market.”
Powell noted that the PAJ-organised tour showcased best practices and technology investments that can result in improved efficiency, productivity and a lower cost of doing business.
Kingston Wharves Limited (KWL), one of the port terminals toured by the delegation, has been part of PCS for the past four years.
KWL’s CEO Mark Williams said Kingston Wharves’ use of PCS has helped to transform warehouse and terminal operations, specifically the handling of cargo for exports, as well as commercial and personal imports, adding that its use of PCS is part of a larger digital strategy. “We have made significant investment in our digital infrastructure to optimise operational efficiency and customer service delivery. Digital technology drives our terminal operations, security management and surveillance, back-office operations and front-facing customer service delivery.”
“These investments have enabled us to be active members and users of PAJ’s Port Community System,” he said, noting that KWL continues to streamline its processes to maximise the benefits of PCS.
Williams also lauded the Barbadian delegation on its interest in implementing PCS: “Introduction of PCS (in Barbados) will undoubtedly improve port efficiency and redound to the benefit of regional shipping and, by extension, the end users.”
The Barbadian delegation also visited the Shipping Association of Jamaica; Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited, the larger terminal on the Port of Kingston; as well as established ports in Europe, including the Port of Rotterdam.