Companies want charges waived
BUSINESSES THAT FELT THE FALLOUT from the recent go-slow by Customs’ officers are hoping for a waiver of some of charges due at the Bridgetown Port during that period.
Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) executive director Lisa Gale said that as part of its efforts to negate “negative implications for an already despressed retail and distributive sector”, the BCCI “reached out to the Bridgetown Port Inc. (BPI) to ask for leniency in the port charges”.
Commenting on the issue in the August edition of The Chamber Biz, BCCI’s monthly newsletter, she noted that “when containers take too long to be cleared this results in storage charges and demurrage charges”.
Gale, an economist and international trade specialist, said that while BPI officials said the go-slow “was having implications for this department which ultimately had to bear costs as well . . . commitment was, however, made to assist where it was practicable”.
“BCCI was advised that it would be on a case by case basis and members would have to clearly show through documentation that delays were outside of their control. I wish to thank the several entities which understood our members’ plight and agreed to give consideration to our calls for waivers where possible,” she said.
Gale said the “most significant impact” of the Customs impasse for businesses was “the pile-up of containers in the Bridgetown Port, the inordinate delays in getting documents and the fear of inadequate supply of goods across the nation”.
Noting that she was on vacation during some of the impasse, the private sector representative said information communicated to her “highlighted that members had severe setbacks on the build-up of containers in the port, causing some members to panic with the expectation that there would be a shortage of certain goods on the shelves”.
“Some actually had to face this phenomenon. It was, however, not an acute occurance. Airport lines were reported to be long and very few staff were visibly present. Members were worried that the Crop Over visitor experience might also be marred as a result,” she noted. (SC)