Port Georgetown gets F in World Bank report - ‘…it still takes 35 days to clear customs and 11 documents were necessary to complete a transaction in 2007’
Stabroek News news item. Thursday 19 June 2008
Several Caribbean ports, including Guyana’s, have received a failing grade in a global survey on seaports and customs effectiveness called the Logistics Performance Index (LPI), said the BBC in a report.
The study was carried out by the World Bank and is contained in a report called titled “Connecting to Compete: Trade Logistics in the Global Economy.”
The article said that of the 150 participating countries, Guyana, Haiti and Jamaica ranked at 141, 123 and 118 respectively.
When contacted yesterday, the Shipping Association of Guyana said that it is cognisant of the shortcomings in Guyana’s shipping. An official of the SAG, Ian D’Anjou, said that the body is discussing the report’s findings among its executive before a formal statement is issued.
The BBC report said that the country with the highest ranking in the Caribbean was the Dominican Republic at 96.
“However, seaports in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Bahamas, the Eastern Caribbean countries and the Dutch and French Caribbean, were not included,” the report said.
The report also ranked countries based on other indicators such as efficiency of customs operations, infrastructure, logistics competence, tracking and tracing and timeliness, among others and again Caribbean countries in general were ranked very low.
The report highlights the fact that the region is failing in its efforts to develop a competitive supply chain framework, the article said.
In an analysis of the findings, Caribbean Central American Action noted that: “one of the most important reasons noted for the low performance of the region is the lack of efficient customs practices in the region.”
According to the BBC report, its Executive Director, Anton Edmunds told BBC Caribbean that as it relates to logistics - the actual movement of goods in and out of the region - the Caribbean ranks relatively low.
He said one of the areas of under performance was the (lack of) speed in which “goods are loaded, off-loaded, customs cleared and get into the market-place. “It’s really where it shows the region is deficient,” he pointed out, according to the article.
According to another World Bank report: “Doing Business 2008” although Guyana has one of the lowest costs to import a 20-foot container, compared to other countries within and outside of the region, it still takes 35 days to clear customs and 11 documents were necessary to complete a transaction in 2007.
In the same report, Jamaica has one of the highest costs to import a container of similar size despite the country’s recent upgrade in customs technology and developing its infrastructure.
The article said that although the number of documents necessary for imports were almost half that of Guyana, it still took at least 22 days before the shipment can be released from Jamaica’s customs.
The slow customs clearing process – from the wharf to the customs house processing – remains a bugbear among businesses which also have to face storage costs and ‘want-of-entry’ charges because of the extended time it takes for them to clear their goods from wharves.