Shipping | SAJ welcomes Barbados delegation for port system dialogue
THE SHIPPING Association of Jamaica (SAJ) welcomed a delegation from Barbados’ maritime sector last Thursday as the Eastern Caribbean nation explores the development of a port community system (PCS).
The group, which included members of the public and private sectors, forms part of the country’s steering committee that is conducting a study tour of regional and international ports to assess the application of a PCS at the port of Bridgetown.
The PCS is an electronic platform which manages a territory’s trade logistics processes and allows for the secure exchange of information among its users.
Chief Executive Officer at Barbados Port Inc, David Jean-Marie, said the tour will examine best practices in the use of a PCS. Following a recent visit to Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, Jean-Marie said the delegation’s visit to Jamaica “is a good experience in terms of a successful PCS and implementation. So we are here with all stakeholders to hear your experience in terms of implementation, so that we avoid the pitfalls”.
Among the benefits he hopes the country will reap is the improvement of its economic performance and position globally with the successful use of a PCS. “We believe we can improve the efficiency, reduce the cost, the time and therefore have a much more improved (World Bank) Doing Business index in Barbados,” he said.
A DESIRE TO HELP REGION
SAJ President William Brown said the association offered its experience out of a desire to help advance the region.
“The Caribbean is a small place, and the economies of scale and the development of the region will depend one on the other,” Brown said. He added, “Jamaica is successful in implementing the PCS. We have grown and we continue to develop, and it is good that a partner, a Caribbean island, like Barbados, is beginning to embark on a process that we’ve been involved in.
“It’s important that we help. We plan to see if there is anything that, in our experiences, can help them; and it is good that they have reached out, instead of going out into something on their own. We can always help them, and we are ready and willing to help any of the partners in the Caribbean who want to follow suit into exactly what we have done.”
He said the engagement of users at all levels of the port community will be the most important factor for effective implementation of the PCS by Barbados.
“The truth is that, because the PCS is not an IT (information technology) project -- it’s a user implementation for growth of the business and the industrial economy -- if you don’t get the clerk on the ground, the daily users, to understand the difference it will make, and what you have to do to make it different, then you will be down a road and people will begin to resist.
“It is important that at the outset, that their contribution, their involvement, is as important as writing the software and the implementation from the higher level.”
Since Jamaica’s implementation of the PCS some eight years ago, Brown said there have been numerous benefits to the island’s shipping and logistics sector, including the reduction of processing and wait times.
“The benefit to the customer and to the economy itself is significant because of the speed of being able to process businesses through the ports in two, three days, instead of a week and a half, two weeks, as it was in the past before the PCS. That’s very important -- to see the value of the money that you have saved and earned by improving efficiency and time flow of work.”