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Jamaica opens bid for Port Community System

Published:Tuesday | May 1, 2012 | 12:00 AM

The Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) has launched the first of a two-stage tender process for the establishment of a Port Community System in Jamaica.

A Port Community System is a central database which provides integration of commercial and logistics activities among companies involved in the export and import process, including trading companies, shipping agents and brokers, forwarding agencies, truckers, terminal operators and customs and ports authorities.

The technology facilitates an improved trade system by providing faster customs clearance, reduced costs for companies and customers and increased efficiency among the entities in the shipping industry.

Lead agency on the project

While the PAJ is the lead government agency on the project, it also has the involvement of Jamaica Customs and the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ).

Cabinet in March gave approval for the Port Authority to establish the Port Community System as a first step toward the realisation of a dynamic trade facilitation platform for Jamaica.

The Port Community System will lead to a significant improvement in the flow of trade documentation between Jamaica and its trade partners, thus enhancing the country's rating in the World Bank's Doing Business Report, as well as the Global Logistics Index. Jamaica has been lagging in both indices in recent years. These indices measure Jamaica's global competitiveness and assign rankings.

For more than 10 years, SAJ and government-run agency Jampro, have been proponents of a port community system. From 2001 to 2002, the SAJ conducted a feasibility study with funding secured by JAMPRO from the United States Agency for International Development.

Since then, the partners have being working assiduously to create greater awareness between government and private-sector interest groups. JAMPRO, through Trade Point, has worked diligently to get Jamaica prepared for a single window. the SAJ, while working with JAMPRO, has pursued the Port Community System initiative.

e-business platform

At its most basic, a single Window is an e-business platform which acts like a virtual one-stop-shop and allows the business community to conduct business with the Government through a seamless interface.

The Government has articulated the need for Jamaica to develop its logistics capabilities to attract business from the Far East going to the United States' East Coast. The Port Community System will aid Jamaica's efforts to attract such business.

The PAJ and the SAJ have engaged the services of Dwain Powell, former director of information management at Jamaica Customs, as the project manager for the introduction of the system. Powell will work under the guidance of the PAJ and the SAJ.