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Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a Port Community System?
A Port Community System (PCS) is an electronic platform which integrates the multiple Systems operated by a variety of organizations (public & private) that make up a seaport, airport or inland port community. It is a single window for the ports of Jamaica as it is shared in the sense that it is set up, organized and used by firms in the same sector – in this case, a port community. A PCS optimizes, manages and automates smooth port and logistics processes through a single submission of data and by connecting transport and logistics chains.
The PCS implementation is an opportunity to substantially encourage and promote more efficient and effective trading practices, while reducing the cost of doing business; therefore marketing/positioning Jamaica as a global logistics hub for the region. This will be critical for Jamaica to take advantage of the completed Panama Canal Expansion project.
2. What is the Port Authority of Jamaica’s role with respect to the Port Community System Project?
The Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) and the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) were mandated by the Government of Jamaica to acquire and implement a PCS for Jamaica. The PAJ is the lead agency with respect to acquiring the PCS solution.
Globally and historically, PCS solution implementations have been led by the Port Community, which includes primarily the Authority, Customs and the Shipping Association. This is based on the fact that the efficiency, productivity and attractiveness of a country’s ports are a strategic asset that are continually being improved upon whether by physical infrastructure, ICT or by improvements in port processes as it relates to Cargo and documentation logistics.
The Port Authority of Jamaica will also be responsible for the creation of a Port Community System Operator, an entity that will be responsible for the daily operation of the PCS solution.
The Port Authority of Jamaica will ensure that a competitive market rate is implemented with respect to the PCS tariff structure associated with the PCS solution.
3. What is a PCS Operator?
This will be a specialized department, tasked with maintaining the PCS Solution on a daily operational basis within Jamaica.
The structure of the PCS Operator will include:
ICT Technical Resources
The PCS Operator will also maintain high levels of service with its customers, based on activities such as system availability, information confidentiality, etc.
4. Will the PCS Solution impact on the ordinary Jamaican that clears a barrel or personal effects at the Port?
The PCS solution will be predominantly utilized by the Port Community stakeholders, such as custom brokers, shipping agents, freight forwarders, haulage companies, terminal operators, Customs and the Port Authority.
Individual citizen importers will not need to interface with the PCS Solution to effect clearance of their cargo.
The impact on importers and exporters will be a significant reduction in processing times and improved consistency, transparency and predictability of transactions.
5. Will the use of the PCS Solution be mandatory?
The majority of transactions within the PCS solution will be made mandatory to ensure that re-engineered processes are implemented and used by all.
There will also be optional PCS services. These services will provide immense value added benefits to the Jamaican Port Community.
6. Will there be a need for legislative or regulatory changes required for the implementation of the PCS?
Currently, Jamaica Customs Agency and the respective regulatory agencies are currently reviewing their laws with respect to data sharing and use of paperless transactions.
It is not envisioned that any of the current laws will impact negatively on the implementation of the PCS solution.
The Jamaica Customs Agency in November 2014, passed specific laws which allows the Agency to collect information through a paperless medium. These laws will therefore assist the PCS solution in achieving a paperless implementation.
The PAJ recently amended the Port Authority (Port Management & Security), Regulations to facilitate the establishment and implementation of the PCS. Over time, as the system evolves, laws relating to data security and Logistics activities will also have to be updated to reflect the modern nature of port operations and electronic transactions.
7. Will the PCS Solution impact on Airport operations?
The scope of the PCS solution does include airports; which is in relation to air manifests and integration with Customs declarations.
The PCS solution also makes provision for cargo moving to bonded warehouses and the track and trace capability for those specific cargo.
8. How long will it take to fully implement the PCS Solution within Jamaica?
The implementation schedule for the PCS is slated for twenty-four months (24 Months).
However, various modules will be implemented within the time periods below:
Month 6: Transhipment Kingston
Month 9: Import Kingston
Month 12: Export Kingston
Month 13: Import Other ports
Month 15: Export Other ports
Month 17: Transhipment Other ports
Month 19 : Import Airport
Month 21: Export Airport
9. Will the implementation of the PCS Solution impact on the World Bank Doing Business Report?
Similar countries that have undergone successful implementation of these solutions, have seen considerable improvements in their World Bank and Logistics Performance ranking.
These reports on Jamaica are expected to improve overtime, once the processes to support the modern ICT solutions are implemented successfully.
10. Is the PCS Solution an IT project?
While the PCS is an IT solution, the port community must embrace that the PCS is a change management project predominantly.
It will require that various stakeholders review, analyze and change the processes associated with their businesses. This will include public and private entities.
11. How will the PCS and Customs System work together?
The PCS and Customs Solutions will be integrated to provide seamless transactions for Cargo Processing. eSAD Declarations will be sent to Customs' ASYCUDA World and Manifests will be sent to the PCS.
Both systems will be integrated and will validate the information being sent. The PCS will also disseminate specific manifest information to Customs, Terminals and Regulatory Agencies in the required format.
This will result in improved reliability, transparency and accuracy of the data being provided by various stakeholders.
Once cargo is cleared and released by all the major stakeholders, the PCS will provide confirmation and will then generate an electronic release.
Port Authority of Jamaica
Jamaica Customs Agency
Shipping Association of Jamaica
Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority
Jamaica Trade Information Portal
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