Port of Port-of-Spain

The upgraded system now being utilised by the Customs and Excise Division will improve this country’s ease of doing business, the Ministry of Finance has stated.

In a release issued yesterday, the Finance Ministry announced that the Customs and Excise Division has upgraded to ASYCUDA World 4.2.2.

ASYCUDA is a computerised customs management system developed in Geneva by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) which covers most foreign trade procedures.

The upgraded ASYCUDA World 4.2.2. introduces “many new features that are geared towards improving the quality of service offered by the Division whilst at the same time enforcing the necessary Customs controls that ensure consistent quality data is submitted by traders”, the Finance Ministry stated.

“The new features are geared at improving the ease of doing business, promoting accurate fee calculations and enabling granular data collection for all stakeholders through enhanced digitisation,” it stated.

The system did not get off to the best of start however as over the past two weeks various stakeholders have raised concerns about delays in processing Customs entries because of the upgrade which came into effect with the new year.

While speaking in the Senate on Tuesday Finance Minister Colm Imbert acknowledged the issues and assured those teething problems would be addressed.

On Thursday the Port of Port-of- Spain wrote letters to the American Chamber of T&T as well as the Shipping Association stating that it was willing to waive the rent being incurred to companies who were unable to clear shipments.

AMCHAM said it was pleased with this gesture.

Some of the new features users will experience are:

Electronic Agent Release –This benefits agents by cutting down on time delays. Customs brokers can now input data physically and get real-time information.

Freight Segment – This feature will allow for correct invoicing and accurate charges.

Cargo Amend – This new electronic feature allows the agent to electronically request amendment of the cargo and upload supporting documents. Customs can then examine the request made and documents submitted and make authorised changes.

Re-route to Query – This benefits the declarer/importer. The originally submitted declaration can now be amended and the system will show and verify the changes.

Warehouse Transfers – This feature serves the needs of importers and keeps a proper inventory of the draw down of stock from warehouses.

Vehicle Page – This feature allows Customs to collect vehicle information such as chassis and engine number at the manifest level. It benefits the Licensing Division, customs brokers and custodians.

Improved Warehouse Inventory Management – Intra-regional traders will experience greater compatibility between the CARICOM IMPACS Advance Cargo Information System (ACIS) and ASYCUDA 4.2.2.

“The Ministry of Finance remains committed to improving the Customs and Excise experience for the benefit of the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago,” it stated.