The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) has introduced a Track and Trace service to facilitate transparency for traders and their representatives in handling Customs Declarations.
In an interview with JIS News, Chief Information Officer (CIO) at JCA, André Williams, explained that the feature will allow the trader or their representative, in this instance a customs broker, to enter details specific to the declarations and be provided with the current status for processing.
“We process a number of declarations on a daily basis and there is a need for greater visibility regarding submission and letting traders know exactly where their document is in the process, all the way through to releasing of the cargo,” he said.
Mr. Williams pointed out that the trader or the importer would also be interested in knowing the turnaround time and, in the event that there are any issues, what point in the process these arise.
The CIO said the customs broker will also be able to view the remarks from the Inspection Act, when a declaration has been routed to query by JCA.
“This is one of our trade facilitation-related initiatives which would improve visibility and provide the traders with real-time information,” he said.
“Track and Trace is a portal where the trader or his representative will enter a minimum amount of information pertaining to a declaration. For example, the office code, the year, their internal reference code and the taxpayer registration number (TRN) for the broker or the importer,” he further explained.
After this submission, Mr. Williams informed that the system will respond with all of the points of intervention for which the shipment would be flagged.
He said it is also important to note that within the customs system, the other regulatory authorities are also carrying out their inspection functions, so if there is a need for another regulatory authority to have an intervention, such as documentary review or for inspection of the shipment, that will also be shown or displayed to the trader or the importer or the declarant.
“All the information related to the points of intervention will be shown all the way through to the releasing of the cargo. It will also show if the goods have exited the port. Persons will be able to see the average processing time that has been incurred, based on the different points of intervention,” he explained.
According to the CIO, another important element of the Track and Trace service, which will be accessible from the ASYCUDA World portal, is that it is mobile responsive and can be accessed from a mobile device free of cost.
“We are planning to build out a mobile app to include this and other services, and bearing in mind that our portal is free of cost to the trader, there are no limitations or barriers to use of the service,” he pointed out.
“Persons can use their mobile device, browse through our portal – https://ijets.jacustoms.gov.jm — and just select the Track and Trace option. They will be able to enter the information, then be provided with the real time data in terms of the status of declaration,” Mr Williams added.
He said that since introduction of the service, the JCA has seen a significant number of traders using it.
“We want to ensure that all persons are aware of this feature and that it will save them time and effort by knowing when to send representatives to the port to effect the actual clearance and retrieve the goods from the port, or when to advise a trucker that all has been approved and that they can now proceed to the port to pick up a container,” he noted.
The service is initially being offered to customs brokers following a pilot and feedback from the respective participants.