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Soon, Eastern Caribbean countries will benefit from improved border control operations through the establishment of a maritime single window which will utilize technology and shared data to monitor passenger and cargo information.
This development was announced on Wednesday by Director of the Projects Department at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Daniel Best. His announcement came at the launch of the Establishment of Integrated Border Systems in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Project at CDB headquarters.
According to Best, the project will come on stream in the coming months and will create a maritime single window solution, which will consolidate existing systems for advanced passenger and cargo information and other complementary structures into a single portal accessible to the various agencies involved in border control operations.
Best stated: “Customs authorities in beneficiary countries will receive an upgraded passenger portal to operationalise the Maritime Single Window, built in risk management capacity at implementing agency CARICOM IMPACS for the existing cargo system and training for staff to utilise the newly developed technology.”
On November 12, 2020 the Standby Facility Steering Committee approved US$350,070 in EDF financing for the Project while CDB provided US$300,400 from its Special Development Fund.
The establishment of the new integrated maritime solution will result in greater collaboration among maritime departments, port authorities, customs and other border agencies, as well as private sector stakeholders, such as shipping agents, freight forwarders and customs brokers among others.
A functioning system will strengthen coordination and information sharing, resulting in a more simplified and streamlined process for clearance of goods and passengers. Additionally, both passengers and cargo will experience reduced wait and processing times and decreased paper burden as documents and processes are standardised.
Also speaking at the launch, Head of Environmental Sustainability at the OECS Commission, Chamberlain Emmanuel, indicated: “The Maritime Single Window solution is best poised to interact with existing and future systems in order to enhance the efficiency and predictability of the free movement of citizens, residents and tourists travelling on ferries and cruises across the region and wider international community.”
Meanwhile, Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States, the OECS and CARICOM/CARIFORUM, Luis Maia expressed satisfaction with the progress made by the Standby Facility despite the global pandemic.
“We are excited,” he added, “that this new facility will provide support in key areas of need. Notable actions will include improving Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures and quality infrastructure at the national level, enhanced market access and export capacity for key sectors.”
The Standby Facility is a €8.75 million resource managed by the CDB which offers opportunities to 15 Caribbean economies to grow trade, deepen integration and economic involvement, impact competitiveness, market access and exports by implementing targeted projects in thematic areas