BRADES, Montserrat – Local brokers and shipping agents were given an opportunity earlier this week to become familiar with the new customs software ASYCUDA World.
Over the past six months, the Customs Department and the Department of Information Technology and eGovernment Services (DITES) have been working with a consulting team from the United Nations Council on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to set up the new software, which is expected to greatly improve the processing of shipments and collection of revenue.
On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, brokers and shipping agents got a first-hand look at the system and received clarification on how this would enhance the experience for themselves and their clients.
ASYCUDA World Regional Project Manager Terence Leonard said the general feedback from trainees was that the system was not difficult to manage. It is intended that in early November the shippers and brokers will be able to test the manifest module, which allows them to upload the list of items expected in shipments from their office or home computer. This information is then received by Customs which can begin to process the shipment before it arrives.
Leonard plans to supervise the system test for about two to four weeks starting November 10. Following a successful result, it will be rolled out and incorporate all of the offices at the Port Authority, Customs Office at Government Headquarters and the shipping agents.
“The objective of the system is to reduce the interaction between customs officers and trade users, explained the consultant. “It has been recognized that investors and traders need to be more comfortable and flexibility that allows the system to flow and control in a manner that will not hinder trade.”
Senior Customs Officer and local Project manager Glenville Daley explained that “ASYCUDA World integrates the internet which allows brokers/agents to input data from their office or home. The present system is 20 years old and misses out a lot of information which is necessary for processing a shipment.”
Over the coming weeks, customs intends to provide training for staff members and all brokers on island. It is intended that a kiosk will be installed at the Customs Office or Port Authority to allow for individuals to input their shipping information themselves if they do not wish to go through a broker. These persons will also be given the chance to receive the training so they can learn the system, Daley added.
ASYCUDA World will be available on www.customs.gov.ms.