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Story Highlights

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) and three private sector companies.
  • The MOU, which was signed on March 11, states the obligations of these companies designated Authorized Economic Operators (AEO) to meet certain compliance and security requirements.
  • The AEO programme is designed to encourage compliance and reduce security risks by certifying all relevant personnel within the import and export industry.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) and three private sector companies.

The MOU, which was signed on March 11, states the obligations of these companies designated Authorized Economic Operators (AEO) to meet certain compliance and security requirements under the AEO programme and for the JCA to guarantee certain service level standards and clearance privileges.

The AEO programme is designed to encourage compliance and reduce security risks by certifying all relevant personnel within the import and export industry.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Jamaica Customs Agency, Major Richard Reese, said a few important criteria were left to be satisfied since the AEO was first implemented and this MOU will now satisfy those outstanding requirements.

“Those primarily dealt with the security of the supply chain, which necessitated a revalidation exercise,” Major Reese noted.

The exercise now requires all existing Authorized Economic Operators and those applying for the first time to re-submit applications that will satisfy the outstanding requirements.

“We have a team of officers or account managers that go out and revalidate these requirements and then we sign over a new contract which last for three years,” Major Reese said.

He explained that at the end of the three-year contract, the requirements are reviewed and the arrangements enhanced.

“The next step is for Customs to enter into customs mutual assistance agreements with other countries, so that we can have expeditious movement of cargo both from those destinations to Jamaica and from Jamaica to those destinations,” Major Reese said.

Approximately 130 entities are part of the current revalidation exercise, three of which officially signed the MOU.

Senior Logistics Officer at GK Foods, a division of GraceKennedy Limited, Deighton Christian, said the requirements that his company had to meet for the AEO programme were eye-opening and provided information on security of cargo chain.

“Expenses we would incur on the port or delays that would bring those expenses have been greatly reduced, also turn-around time. We can basically get a cargo in 2-3 days or less depending on what time of day that cargo arrives,” Mr. Christian said.

In his remarks, Director of DFL Importers, Stephen deCasseres, said the programme has been very beneficial to his company, as he can now receive containers within 24 hours.

Meanwhile, Managing Director of Office Supplies Brokers Limited, Richard McCreath, said the experience so far has been excellent and enlightening and came at a good time for his company.

“The security cameras, the management of the log book, and the management of the people I think is one of the most important features of the whole company,” Mr. McCreath noted.

In the meantime, Major Reese implored the companies to share their experiences with other large, small and medium enterprises in an effort to build capacity in the sector.

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