Port Authority hails success of Port Community System

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

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The Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) has continued its thrust to automate operations with the roll-out of the Import Phase of the Port Community System (PCS) for the Kingston maritime port Community.

So far, more than 300 companies have participated in PCS-related training sessions and benefited from the resulting optimisation of several shipping processes since the launch of the PCS in July, 2016, according to a recent news release.

The announcement was made at a recent breakfast meeting with select shipping stakeholders hosted by the PAJ at its Kingston offices.

Professor Gordon Shirley, president and CEO of the PAJ, said: “in recent times, the Jamaican port community has been undergoing numerous changes focused on processes and ICT with Asycuda World, as well as the PCS. In addition there have been infrastructural upgrades – such as the recent completion of the dredging of the Kingston Harbour, and the massive capital investments being undertaken by Kingston Freeport Terminal Ltd and Kingston Wharves Ltd. These projects are complementary and are geared towards positioning Jamaica to compete globally among the leading logistics countries.”

In the Import Phase, the PCS will manage the submission of less-than-container-load manifests to the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA), as well as the authorisations from customs, shipping agents and freight forwarders, container terminals (terminal authorisation), and customs brokers/freight forwarders (trucker identification).

Instead of checking the required physical documents, as was the case prior to the electronic system, the terminals' gate staff will now check their electronic equivalent, made through the PCS computerised system, before allowing cargo to leave the port.

Once payments have been made to the relevant parties and all releases are in place, the PCS then creates a PCS gate-out authorisation notification. This is sent to various stakeholders – such as truckers, customs brokers/freight forwarders and terminals – to advise that the respective cargo is authorised to be collected.

The Port Community System is a secure electronic platform accessible to private and public stakeholders in the port community.

For the past two years, visits by all cargo vessels to Jamaica have been reported by shipping agents to the JCA through the PCS. This has resulted in a decreased turnaround time for the completion of trans-shipment bills from 30 minutes to an average of five minutes, while also facilitating 24-hour business transactions.

Users of the PCS are pleased about the single data entry platform, as it also allows for the submission of shipping manifests and other key documents to one site, which automatically distributes them to key parties in the logistics chain.

Deputy general manager from Carib Star Shipping Limited (representatives for ZIM Shipping Line in Jamaica), Kisha Williams-Hare stated that: “The Port Community System has significantly improved our trans-shipment shipping bill process, transforming what was a very manual process to an automated, paperless platform. We look forward to the continued improvement within the shipping community.”

Ultimately in the short term, the vision of the PCS operator is that there will be complete elimination of physical documents needed to clear cargo. Some of these physical documents are, however, contractual documents between private stakeholders, therefore the PCS operator will continue to work with the industry to ensure this is a seamless process.

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