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Customs speeds up paperless reform

Published:Tuesday | February 2, 2010 | 12:00 AM


Commissioner of Customs Danville Walker has promised shipping agents and customs brokers that by summer of this year, the C87 form, a seven-page document, will become a single copy.

The C87 is an electronic-entry lodgement system used for the importation of commercial goods. According to the commissioner, he has mandated his information-management team to develop a programme which will facilitate the change.

Walker was speaking at the Jamaica Customs Symposium held at the Jamaica Conference Centre last Wednesday. The symposium was part of the Customs Week celebrations under the theme, 'Customs and Business: Improving Performance Through Partnership'.

Additionally, Walker said the Customs Department, in its quest to become paperless, is aiming to create a central-permit system which can be accessed by all government ministries involved in trade.

Facilitating better trade

The department, he said, is also aiming to discontinue the use of the transhipment bill. However, the commissioner was quick to point out that customs would still collect the revenue, and, as such, a per-container rate was being proposed.

He added that the department would continue to work with industry stakeholders to ensure the new systems developed would better facilitate trade.

President of the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ) Roger Hinds lauded the commissioner's efforts, noting the work being done by the commissioner and his team to improve the relationship between customs and the private sector was commendable. "Some issues remain but the efforts to address them are palpable and real," Hinds said.

In addressing the participants at the symposium, the SAJ president pointed out that the association has enjoyed a dynamic relationship with the Customs Department.

Noting that the SAJ had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Customs in November 2001 to enhance relations between the two entities. Hinds announced that once again the SAJ and Customs, along with two other shipping interests, are now engaged in the process of signing another MOU.

"To further the development and facilitation of trade in the industry, Customs and the SAJ are now engaged in the process of signing another MOU with other key stakeholders, namely the Port Authority of Jamaica and Kingston Wharves," Hinds said. "This memorandum of understanding commits the parties to work together to develop and manage a single window (Port Community System) to enhance Jamaica's supply chain.

Improving partnerships

While pointing out that there have been many successful partnerships between the SAJ and Customs, he noted that business partnerships can be further improved through the enhancement of the e-manifest system, by activating the export module. This will improve the efficiency levels of local export and transhipment consignments.

"We look forward to continuing the partnership with Jamaica Customs as we move towards greater trade facilitation and the development of shipping in Jamaica," Hinds concluded.