Customs House Weekly Series #26

Customs House Weekly Series #26

Jamaica Customs’ Trade Facilitation Initiatives:
Improving Jamaica’s Regional and Global Competitiveness

Jamaica operates in a global space and must remain competitive in the area of trade, logistics and transshipment, coupled with the use statistical data and information, in order that the country can continue to improve its performance ranking regionally and internationally.

In this regard, the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) continues to place emphasis on its Trade Facilitation mandate, with the aim of further building capacity, and improving its regional and global competitiveness as a Customs administration.


Customs Tops Component Ranking

The World Bank Logistics Performance Index posits that “Improving logistics performance is at the core of the economic growth and competitive agenda.”

In 2016, the Logistics Performance Index (LPI) ranked Jamaica at 119 out of 160 countries. While Jamaica slipped in ranking since the previous LPI in 2014, it must be noted that one of the six dimensions that make up the overall Ranking Index in ‘logistics friendliness’ is “the efficiency of customs and border clearancewhich showed the best ranking/rating of the six components.


The Six Components

  1. The efficiency of customs and border management clearance (“Customs”)



  1. The quality of trade and transport infrastructure (“Infrastructure”)



  1. The ease of arranging competitively priced shipments (“Ease of Arranging Shipments”)



  1. The competence and quality of logistics services – trucking, forwarding, and customs brokerage (“Quality of Logistics Services”)



  1. The ability to track and trace consignments (“Tracking and Tracing”)



  1. The frequency with which shipments reach consignees within scheduled or expected delivery times (“Timeliness”)















Adhering to International Standards

The JCA continues its transformation into a modern Customs administration and adopting and applying international best practices is a key part of the Agency’s operating framework. Some of these international best practices include:

  • The World Customs Organisation’s (WCO) Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC), which addresses simplified Customs processes and procedures.
  • The WCO’s Safe Framework of Standards which addresses supply and logistics trade security as well as visibility throughout the supply chain. The JCA’s Authorised Economic Operator Programme is WCO compliant.
  • The WCO’s Immediate Release Guidelines which addresses under what circumstances and what type of cargo Customs should give immediate release.
  • The WCO’s Data Model which ensures standardisation of information required from stakeholders.
  • The WCO’s Customs Business Partnership Guidelines, which ensures that Customs has proper consultation with logistics stakeholders. The JCA established a Customs Business Partnership Forum in January 2017.
  • The WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, which incorporates many aspects of the RKC with respect to Customs processes and procedures.

Additionally, notwithstanding implementation challenges, the automated Customs system, ASYCUDA World, has improved the international trading environment for all import, export and transit Customs formalities, including payment and selectivity rule for inspection. In pursuit of a paperless environment already five Regulatory Authorities are using the system to complete their administrative functions in the clearance of goods.

Importantly, Jamaica Customs seeks to bring Other Government Agencies (OGAs) on board through the use of an automated environment and the use of risk management. This important element ensures adequate Business to Government (B2G) and Government to Business (G2B) transactions, and Government to Government (G2G) collaboration.  The impending Trade Single Window that has been approved by Cabinet is also expected to further facilitate trade and improve the country’s logistics performance.

Additionally, while the Agency’s intrusive inspection stood at 85% in 2015-2016, the JCA is now averaging between 36-39% in 2017. This is attributed to:

  • Use of Advanced Cargo Manifest.
  • Increased risk assessment.
  • Increased compliance.
  • Improved accuracy of declaration through system pre-assessment.

The Agency has also broadened its scope with the recent collaboration with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), making Jamaica the first country to integrate IATA’s Cargo-XML messaging standard into ASYCUDA World, which will make it easier for airlines, freight forwarders and shippers to ensure that the information being provided to Jamaica Customs is technically correct and in line with the standards of industry bodies, such as the WCO.



About us

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

Opening Hours
Monday - Thursday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Friday: 8:00am - 4:00pm

Follow Us      Twitter   Twitter