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How to clear your Christmas barrel

Published:Wednesday | November 21, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Daviot Kelly, Staff Reporter

There are certain things that remind you it's coming to Christmas. The weather gets cooler, the sorrel and poinsettia come out, and the barrels from 'farin' come rolling in. But first you must declare, honestly, whether you are clearing 'personal effects' barrels, and not commercial (business) ones as there are different procedures, fees and customs forms for those.

Dania Beckford, director of public relations at the Jamaica Customs Department, said persons usually make certain mistakes when trying to clear their barrels.

She noted that they often think people who claim they can help with the clearing of their barrels can offer 'real assistance'.

"However, this results in them paying more money than required. All personal-effects barrels require duty payment of J$5,000, non-inclusive of shipping or any storage fees that may be applicable," she explained. "Also, persons fail to ship their cargo early enough."

Ship early

She said even with the extensive efforts of stakeholders from the ports, shipping agencies and Customs Department during this time, if persons do not ship early enough, they might not get their barrels in time for Christmas because of the increased number of cargo on the ports.

"Individuals sometimes fail to contact the Customs Department to ascertain the correct process in clearing their cargo (and amid many publicity efforts) they sometimes get frustrated with the process due to lack of knowledge," she said.

Beckford suggested persons can avoid these glitches by shipping their cargo early enough so that it can be cleared in time.

"They should also only speak with official port representatives and customs officers when they decide to clear their cargo," she said. Finally, Beckford encouraged people to always keep informed through the media, or by contacting the Customs Department, if they are unsure about any process.

According to information from Kingston Wharves Limited, this is how you get your barrel.

Collect your order or bill of lading from your shipping agent, freight forwarder or customs broker (Long story about what they are, just ask for it).

Along with your valid identification - national ID, drivers' licence or passport (you just need one) - and taxpayer registration number, take the documents to the Kingston Wharves head office at the Kingport building, Third Street, Newport West.

Here you pay the handling and storage charges and get a customer service number.

Take all of your documents to the Customs Central Manifest office for documents check and processing.

Here, the customs officer will match your documents against the information submitted to Jamaica Customs. If everything's in order, you get the Customs' stamp of approval.

Go to the berth printed on your document and present your validated paperwork to the security officer at the warehouse for review.

Listen for your customer service number and you will be directed to the customs inspection area, where a customs officer will inspect the items in your barrel. You will also be told how much duty is to be paid. If any, that must be done at the customs cashier.

Remember to collect the customs release from the cashier.

You must collect a gate pass at the berth for your transportation to gain access through the main gate.

Present your documents to the security officer for inspection at the warehouse where your barrel is, and sign to acknowledge receipt of goods.

Collect your barrel and head to the exit gate. You are good to go!

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