Customs House Series #14

Customs House Series #14

Jamaica Customs Uses Risk-based Approach in Protecting Borders, Fostering Compliance

As the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) continues its thrust of improving efficiency and service delivery through the use of the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA), a key priority of the organisation is its ability to identify and combat risks that could serve to undermine the border protection capabilities of the Agency. The entity has also taken a risk-based approach in ensuring compliance among its clients/customers.

  • What is risk management?
  • What are the benefits of using a risk-based approach?
  • How does it impact border protection?
  • How does it foster compliance?

The success of Customs administrations worldwide depends on an effective Risk Management System. The Risk Management Unit of the Jamaica Customs Agency is responsible for implementing risk management plans and processes which involves:

  • Gathering and collating information;
  • Identifying, analysing and reporting areas of risk;
  • Developing targets and profiles;
  • Establishing and maintaining a risk management database;
  • Monitoring the application of risk management remedies across the organisation.


The Risk-based Approach

The risk-based approach adopted by the JCA emphasises that Border Protection has to remain a priority, while facilitating the legitimate movement of cargo and passengers. The risk-based approach is primarily data-driven, as data analysis, is critical to the risk management process. The purpose of risk analysis is to separate low risks from high risks and to further provide data to assist in the assessment and treatment of the risks identified.

For instance, data retrieved from the JCA’s Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA), is analysed to ensure that the highest levels of risks to our borders are targeted. Several indicators are used in this regard, to comprise: who, what, when, where, how and why.


Risk Management Impacting Border Protection and Fostering Compliance

The JCA has placed risk management at the heart of its operations and has formulated an Agency Risk Management Policy (2014) in order to ensure that practices are aligned with the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) and other international benchmark guidelines.

The entity has sought to integrate risk management elements in all facets of its operations in order to ensure that it operates in alignment with international standards and best practices as outlined in the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC), the WCO SAFE Framework of Standards and the Revised Arusha Declaration.


The JCA’s Agency Risk Management Policy (2014) speaks to the following areas:

  • Application of risk management techniques which will strengthen the resilience of the organisation and ensure integrity and ethics standards are being upheld. It allows the Agency to use risk-based information to make strategic and proactive decisions.
  • Implementation of a structure that supports risk management and which ensures that  employees have a clear understanding of the nature of the risks in their areas of functional responsibility and are able to systematically identify, analyse, prioritise and develop treatment programmes to mitigate those risks.    
  • Provision of suitable and timely training for staff; the adoption of the latest Customs technologies, automation of key Customs processes and increased reliance on post audit techniques.
  • Use of non-intrusive examination techniques, such as cargo imaging (screening) and the use of profiling of high-risk cargo and passengers. Another mechanism is the application of a uniformed approach to risk management (such as the Risk Register Template).
  • Fostering compliance, through simplification and automation of processes as seen in the revamped Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programme and the implementation of ASYCUDA World. Through the use of effective post audit techniques, the Agency is able to reward compliant traders by providing greater predictability and faster processing of cargo. ASYCUDA World allows for the full integration of risk management, post clearance audit and an electronic manifest system which meets the needs of the Agency and its stakeholders.


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Mission Statement
To facilitate trade, protect our borders, optimise revenue collection, through collaborative border management and delivery of high quality customer services and to develop and maintain a team of motivated professional and competent staff.


Jamaica Customs Agency

Customs House
Myers Wharf,
Newport East, Kingston 15
Phone: 876 922 5140-8 | 922 8770-3

Corporate Office
2-4 King Street, Kingston
Phone: 876 948 5151

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