Security protection, health protection, and increased efficiency through advance cargo detection were just three of the primary benefits presented at the recently held meeting of the Advance Cargo Information System (ACIS) Implementation and Oversight Committee (IOC) in Barbados. The meeting which was held on October 17, 2017, represented both a collective and strategic approach by regional Customs administrations towards the implementation of an advance cargo information system which was conceptualized over a decade ago in harmony with the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS).
The committee which comprised representatives from Customs Administrations within CARICOM, along with overseeing entities, CARICOM IMPACS and CCLEC, engaged in the critical discussions over the one-day meeting, outlining the operations, opportunities, and objectives of the proposed project. Central to discussions were the benefits to be derived from a collective approach to implementing the ACIS project. These benefits stemmed essentially from the stability the Electronic Manifest Management ASYCUDA System (EMMAS), the robust platform for hosting the proposed ACIS.
By adopting a collective approach, Customs Administrations are expected to see “data requirements minimized, harmonised and submission guaranteed through a single portal.” Added to this is “the opportunity to enhance cargo supply chain security through pre-arrival screening protocols and procedures to assess the level of risk and thus target shipments in a timely manner before their arrival or departure.” By contrast, the weaknesses of a singular approach would mean redundant investments in technology to adapt to country-specific needs and standards, as well as costs incurred through software licensing and operations.
The implementation of such a project would mean an immediate improvement for countries such as Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and The Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago who are currently capable of receiving electronic manifests. The list of countries expected to benefit from the implementation of the project are:
- Antigua and Barbuda;
- The Bahamas3;
- Saint Kitts and Nevis;
- Saint Lucia;
- Saint Vincent and The Grenadines;
- Suriname; and,
- Trinidad and Tobago.
CCLEC reaffirms its position to work strategically with CARICOM IMPACS and the Joint Regional Communications Centre (JRCC). As such, a noteworthy proposal coming out of the discussions, is the need for the JRCC to coordinate more closely with CCLEC in the oversight of projects which impact Border security and the supply chain.