Freight forwarders, shipping and airline agents can expect to see a 50 per cent reduction in the processing time of cargo when the Jamaica Customs Department introduces the electronic manifest system, tomorrow (February 1), at APM Terminals (Berth 11). Speaking with JIS News, Nadine Shirley-Moore, Director, Information Management Unit, Jamaica Customs Department, explained that, “the processing time as it relates to Customs, will be cut by more than 50 per cent because at present, persons coming in with a manifest encounter a search through paper documents, which is not in any particular order, while the computerized system will facilitate a search to be conducted by certain criteria and the information made available.”
The electronic manifest system is designed to allow shipping agents and freight forwarders to submit their manifests to Jamaica Customs using the internet. A manifest is a document produced by the shipping agent or the airline to indicate the type of cargo they are carrying, the volume of the cargo, who the cargo is for, and the cargo’s destination. Mrs. Shirley-Moore emphasized that there were a number of benefits to be derived from using the eManifest by all parties involved, including Customs, shipping agents and by extension the customers of the shipping agency. “For Customs, we will experience a reduction in the processing time for cargo clearance, thereby enabling us to be more efficient in our service delivery.
Additionally, it will allow for improved quality service to the importers and the agents, as there is automatic feedback, once the electronic manifest is submitted as well as online look ups,” she said. “The system will also facilitate the filing of other Customs documents online (C15, C26, C36) and electronic printing of releases. Also, it will allow us to implement our online C78X entry processing system,” she told JIS News.
According to Mrs. Shirley-Moore, the electronic manifest system would provide the facility for shipping agents, airline agents and freight forwarders to submit their manifests in any of the three international formats, namely ANSI X12, CAMIR and EDIFACT. Additional manifests can be prepared and submitted using Customs’ eManifest website at www.jacustoms.gov.jm/emanifest. “Our website is very user-friendly, but we do provide training for shipping agents and freight forwarders to take them through the process. The training is free of cost and agents are asked to register online, and then contact us,” she noted.
The manual system will eventually be phased out, but currently the Jamaica Customs Department will require that all manifests completed electronically be accompanied by a paper manifest as they await the passage of electronic legislation by Parliament. Kingston Wharves is scheduled to implement the eManifest system by the end of July 2006, while the timeline for Montego Bay is the end of fiscal year 2006/2007.