On Thursday, November 4, 2021, Arlene Lawrence, Director of Occupational Health and Safety led a tree-planting exercise at the Port Antonio Primary School as a part of the Agency's 'Month of Wellness' environmental outreach activity.
Acting Principal at the Port Antonio Primary, Daren Myles, lauded the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) team for undertaking the initiative at the Portland-based school.
The principal said the tree planting initiative is very timely and “it will inspire students to further engage in environmental awareness activities as the Government seek to strengthen interest among the younger generation about environmentally sustainable activities.”
Principal Myles added that the recent UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) serves as a reminder that “preserving the environment is very important and sensitizing the students about the importance of trees to our environment is a greater way to reduce our carbon footprint.”
For her part, Arlene Lawrence, reminded those in attendance that the tree-planting activity forms part of the Agency’s Month of Wellness which was held under the theme “BREATHE” (Believe, Rejuvenate, Exercise, Activate, Talent, Heart and Environment).
“Each October, the JCA tries to focus on employees’ health and wellbeing through various strategies that will increase their overall knowledge and awareness. A major part of this year’s theme is the environment, so this activity supports our commitment to the environment, while helping to beautify the space with the entire environmental benefits tree provide,” Lawrence said.
Thursday’s activity was the culmination of JCA’s Month of Wellness, which included spiritual seminars, health clinics, and various outreach activities.
Pointing to a new website with online auctioning capabilities, electronic payment services and drone technology that will bolster border protection services, Jamaica Customs Agency’s Commissioner, Velma Ricketts Walker, says that the JCA is laying the foundation to transition to a successful digital authority.
The new digital systems, which are in keeping with the Agency’s thrust for enhancing the service experience for customers conducting business with the JCA are in tandem with culturally establishing the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) quality management system across the Agency.
Commissioner Ricketts Walker who made the announcement while speaking at the the 20th Annual Customs Seminar hosted by the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, highlighted the adopted World Customs Organization (WCO) Digital Customs Maturity Model, which has formed the framework for the rollout of these digital systems.
“Our Digital Customs Maturing Model outlines the various stages that are involved in our process towards digitization,” Ricketts Walker said. “A major part of this process is our [JCA] new website that will have additional features such as online auctioning, duty calculator and more options for online payments.”
She mentioned that some electronic systems have already been integrated into customs processes, including the Jamaica Single Window for Trade (JSWIFT), an electronic system that enables traders to submit documents at a single digital point.
“JSWIFT has been a major benefit to importers and exporters, who have experienced a reduction in wait time and greater access to information.”
These improvements are to ensure that the Agency continue to respond to the needs of clients and furthering its digitization agenda.
While acknowledging the challenges the pandemic has created, Ricketts Walker lauded her team for improving productivity during the pandemic, citing the number of declarations processed since the start of the year as an indication.
“As of September 2021, 90% or a total of 61,725 commercial declarations were documentary processed from 68,241 submitted by our importers/brokers within our standard time of 20 hours from receipt” she said.
The commissioner also reassured those in attendance that the Agency remains ready to provide the highest quality service to its clients.
Meanwhile, Andre Williams, Chief Information Officer at Jamaica Customs Agency and JSWIFT’s Project Manager, expressed optimism that the new technological developments at Customs will improve efficiency within the Agency.
“These new digital platforms will provide new solutions to our customers’ needs and enhance the efficiency and transparency of our operations,” Williams said. Over the last two years, the Agency has managed to automate several key services which include Returning Residents Application and approval services, Express Clearance Process (ECP) for non-commercial cargo, electronic passenger processing, electronic export manifest, online refund applications and the JSWIFT Services for Trade Board Limited (TBL), the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA), MOA-Plant Quarantine Produce Inspection Branch (PQPIB) and the Jamaica Customs Agency.
Jamaica Customs Says Persons in Lock-down Should Not Attempt to Clear Goods – Customers Encouraged to Use Express Cargo Clearance Procedure
The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) is advising that persons who are in ‘lock-down’, as ordered by the Government of Jamaica, should desist from attempting to effect clearance at any port, as this will not be facilitated by the JCA, during the period of ‘lock-down’.
The JCA is also reminding the public that only the consignee (person in whose name the goods have been imported), an Agent, or any other person authorised to undertake clearance, is allowed on the port or in warehouses to effect the clearance of shipments.
In order to minimise physical contact during this time, the Agency is encouraging customers to use the Express Cargo Clearance Procedure (ECCP), for the processing and clearance of personal shipments with a value at or (Cost, Insurance & Freight - CIF) below US$5000.00.
The Express Cargo Clearance Procedure
Importers can authorise Clearing Agents (Consolidators, Freight Forwarders, Warehouse Keepers or Customs Brokers) to clear personal shipments. This includes preparing, submitting and paying for a Customs Declaration (IMS4), where so authorised by the importer.
Where authorised, some Clearing Agents can complete the entire Customs clearance formalities, including the delivery of the cargo/goods to the consignee, upon the request of the customer.
Convenient Payment Options
In keeping with the nation’s efforts to minimise the spread of COVID-19, the Agency is reminding its customers of its online payment options, such as E-payment (via the ASYCUDA World Portal); Real Time Gross Settlement -R.T.G.S (Direct Bank Transfer); and the Advance Deposit Account (Prepayment Services). However, customers can still make ‘over-the-counter’ payments at the Cashier at the offices of the JCA. For further information on these payment options, customers may call the JCA's Revenue Accounts Unit at 876-948-5151 or email email@example.com.
The JCA remains committed to facilitating trade during this crisis, and will continue to seek ways to optimise efficiency. We urge our customers to remain safe. Let us together, combat COVID-19.
In keeping with public health measures to combat the coronavirus, COVID-19, the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) is advising passengers, who entered Jamaica on or after March 18, and are in quarantine, to refrain from proceeding to any port to effect the clearance of goods, as this will not be facilitated until their quarantine period has ended.
The Agency is also urging other persons in quarantine, to adhere to the requisite health protocols and guidelines of the quarantine period, as together we seek to effectively combat this pandemic.
Customers who must visit its offices are also being asked to cooperate with security personnel, with respect to using the hand sanitisers (alcohol based) provided by the organisation. Customers may also use their own sanitiser in the presence of security personnel.
The JCA takes this opportunity to encourage customers to utilise its online channels, such as Live Chat and its Customer Relationship and Feedback Platform, located on its website: www.jacustoms.gov.jm, to make queries or to lodge reports. They may also email our Customer Service Representatives at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, or telephone 876-922-5140-8.
The Agency remains fully committed to serving our stakeholders and our country.
Arising from queries from the media and members of the public, the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) is advising that it remains fully operational at the country’s air and sea ports, and assures its customers that there are no restrictions or ban on the importation of goods from countries impacted by the COVID-19 virus.
Mrs. Velma Ricketts Walker, CEO/Commissioner of Customs, stated that, “as a border protection entity, we are fully aware of our importance in facilitating trade and travel, which is crucial for the sustainability of the economy and the livelihood of our people, and likewise, we recognise our vulnerability to this virus.”
In this regard, the Commissioner has indicated that in keeping with the Government of Jamaica’s (GOJs) national response strategy in combating Covid-19, the JCA has instituted the relevant health measures and protocols, in promoting the well-being of its employees, including information sharing and providing sanitation supplies. She is also assuring stakeholders that the Agency will implement contingency measures, to ensure business continuity, if necessary.
The Agency is also imploring stakeholders and the general public, to follow the established guidelines and health protocols of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, which can serve to reduce the spread of this coronavirus. In this regard, the Agency is asking customers visiting its various locations to cooperate with security personnel, with respect to measures put in place to combat COVID-19.
The JCA takes this opportunity to encourage customers to utilise its e-Payment platform to undertake transactions, as well as its online channels (Live Chat, Customer Relationship and Feedback Platform), located on its website: www.jacustoms.gov.jm, to make queries or to lodge reports, or to contact its Customer Service Representatives at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, or by telephone 876-922-5140-8.
The Agency remains committed to serving its stakeholders, while protecting its employees.
The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) is advising, that its telephone lines: 876-922-5140-8, operated from its head office in Kingston, are fully functional, following a disruption in service (Nov. 11th), which has been rectified by its Service Provider.
In addition to the switchboard numbers, stakeholders may also contact the JCA at 876-948-7849, 876-948-5151, or 876-618-0361. They may also contact the Agency by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, as well as via its website: www.jacustoms.gov.jm for customs-related information.
The JCA remains committed to providing high quality service to its clients, and once more, thank them for their understanding.
Electronic C5 Form
The online version of the Immigration/Customs Declaration (C5) Form will allow air passengers to input their information in advance of travelling and to submit same online, through a secured portal.