The Port of Bridgetown reopened to the delivery of all commercial cargo from today, Thursday, April 30.
But, it will done under a new Protocol for Port operations which was approved by Cabinet following extensive consultations among all stakeholders and the private sector,
Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey said: “The Port is rolling out a new model of operations which balances the need to efficiently deliver cargo from the Port with this new public health normal we are challenged by. Every effort is being made to be as efficient in delivery while minimizing the number of persons on the road and entering the Port facility.
“As a Government, we see it as our responsibility to ensure that we keep all of our citizens and essential workers safe by introducing health and safety requirements for the conduct of all transactions,” he said.
As a result, customers with barrels and other personal effects at Shed 2 are advised that there is a new system in place designed to ensure customers receive their cargo.
Effective Monday, May 4, a new protocol developed, in consultation with consolidators, customs brokers, truckers, the Customs and Excise Department and the Barbados Port Inc., offers consignees the convenience of an all-inclusive service of home delivery.
Under the system, local consolidators have been designated to make contact with consignees; collect all relevant documents; work with their registered in-house or Customs Broker of choice to facilitate processing of the documents; pay all associated fees and duties; arrange for their trucker of choice to collect the cargo from Shed 2 and deliver the cargo to consignees directly at home.
Chairman of the Port, Senator Lisa Cummins said: “We will of course be monitoring how it goes and receiving feedback so if we need to make changes we can do so in the interest of everyone involved.
“A few weeks ago many Barbadians could not have imagined supermarket shopping by delivery or by alphabet. But, this is the new normal that COVID-19 has created and so we in the Port have worked with our partners to ensure we can have a hybrid system which allows our clients to have their barrels delivered directly to their doorsteps or alternatively to enter the Port facility only by appointment.”
In describing the new system, Chief Executive Officer of the Port, David Jean-Marie said: “Over the period of the shutdown, there were over 900 items of personal cargo stored in Shed 2 and we know the public is anxious to get their goods into their homes. So, we have put this system in place to ensure that we do not endanger the members of our staff or our clients by having this flood of traffic enter the Port in the coming weeks, and that we strike that important balance between getting people their goods and keeping them safe at the same time.
“We have a well-established relationship with the consolidators who handle a significant portion of the barrel business in the country, with customs brokers and clerks and it is this partnership that will allow us to adapt our services to work collaboratively.”
The CEO further explained that: “Cargo will be processed according to days in Port, with clearance accorded first to that in Port longest so customers waiting the longest for their cargo will receive their items first.”
All persons going to the Port of Bridgetown to conduct business are reminded that strict health and safety and social distancing protocols must be observed. All visitors will be required to wear face masks, utilize sanitization stations and follow the directives of security personnel.
The Port also seeks to thank members of the public for the patience exhibited over the past few weeks, and appreciates their understanding as they seek to clear the cargo backlog over the next few days.