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Kingston Wharves Limited (KWL), in collaboration with Customs, is instituting new measures aimed at making the wharves much more user friendly this Christmas.

Commissioner of Customs, Danville Walker (right), is introduced to Chief Executive Officer of Kingston Wharves Limited, Grantley Stephenson (left) by Chairman of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce’s (JCC’s) Customs, Tariff and Port Users Committee, Lazarus Bucknor (centre), as he arrived to participate in the JCC’s 9th annual customs seminar at the Wyndham Hotel in Kingston on Tuesday (November 2).

Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Grantley Stephenson, made the announcement at the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce’s Ninth Annual Customs Seminar at the Wyndham Hotel, New Kingston, on Tuesday (November 2).
“On average, we would handle probably 6,000 barrels per month. During the month of December, it jumps to 28,000 and the facilities do not changed – the size of the warehouses remains the same,” Mr. Stephenson disclosed, pointing to the dramatic increase in activities at Christmas.
He added that the only changes, in recent times, have been an increase in the number of Customs Officers and a “few small things”, while the wharves were expected to deliver the same level of service as during the less active period.
He said he was delighted with the new level of collaboration with the Customs Department, which has made it possible to institute a number of measures which, hopefully, “will make life a little easier, not only this Christmas but going forward.”
Mr. Stephenson said that a new computerised system, implemented about two weeks ago, will track the process, from the moment a customer arrives at the King Port building.
“It not just tracks it, but it times it. As soon as a customer pays his charges at King Port building, what we call a ‘pick ticket’ will be generated in the warehouse, and it will have all the details and this will be assigned to a cargo handler,” he explained.
He added that the cargo handler would have five to 10 minutes to locate the cargo and bring it to the examination area, the idea being to accomplish this before the customer reaches the warehouse.
The CEO also noted that, with the computerised system, there has been a de-bugging which has eliminated one step in the process, as when customers go to the Manifest Branch they no longer need additional processing.
The Manager of the Customs Department and his deputies also have access to the system, so they can see the movement of customers and can monitor to determine if bottlenecks are occurring in the examination area.
Mr. Stephenson said that KWL will be adding a significant number of staff over the holiday season, including cashiers.
“We will be adding a number of what we call facilitators. These are young people, primarily university students. Their role will be to assist people through the process,” he stated.
He promised special provisions for the elderly, pregnant women, women with young children.
Turning to the issue of ‘hustlers’ fleecing customers, the CEO said that KWL has an electronic turnstile, and persons can only get through with a port identification card.
“For those persons who are guilty of fleecing, and we know who they are and who they are connected to, we will be timing their ID cards so…we will be able to monitor that,” he said.
Mr. Stephenson stated that, over a period of time, people will understand that KWL will not to tolerate fleecing, and will not allow those persons to make life difficult for its customers.
With the co-operation of the Jamaica Customs Department and the Port Authority of Jamaica, one of the more significant steps being taken at Kingston Wharves is the stripping containers at nights, he said.
“We will strip containers between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. and so all the cargo will be sorted, given a location and, therefore, the daytime hours will now be devoted strictly to the delivery of cargo,” he assured.
He said that with respect to door-to-door cargoes, which increase significantly during the season, KWL is hoping to process them between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., when most of the regular customers have left.
He disclosed that the Port Authority has signed off on scanning at nights, and has agreed to change the basis on which storage charges are calculated. Between now and December, storage charges will begin at the date when the container is stripped and not the date of arrival.
Mr. Stephenson also informed that Kingston Wharves will be opening on three Saturdays in December – the fourth, eleventh and eighteen – to facilitate customers during regular office hours, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.