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The office of the Caribbean Development Bank in St Michaels, Barbados. (Photo: caribank.org)

CDB collaborates with Caricom IMPACS on Maritime Single Window for OECS

The office of the Caribbean Development Bank in St Michaels, Barbados. (Photo: caribank.org)

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) will be working closely with Caricom Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) to create a maritime single window for travel and trade that will benefit Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) territories.

CDB Director of Projects Daniel Best made the announcement at the launch of the Establishment of Integrated Border Systems in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Project last Wednesday, November 25, 2020 at the bank’s headquarters in Barbados.

From left: Lt Col Michael Jones, executive director (acting) at Caricom IMPACS; Daniel Best, director of projects, Caribbean Development Bank; and Luis Maia,  head of cooperation, at the Delegation of the European Union to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States, the OECS and Caricom/CARIFORUM (Photo: Caribbean Development Bank)

The creation of a maritime single window solution 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. 

“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,” Best noted.

Joint funding for project

Already, the CDB has provided US$300,400 from its Special Development Fund for the project, and on November 12, 2020, the Standby Facility Steering Committee of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) approved the disbursement of US$350,070.

According to the CDB, the OECS is the first beneficiary of the EDF-financed CARIFORUM-European Union (EU) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) Standby Facility for Capacity Building.

Luis Maia, head of cooperation, at the Delegation of the European Union to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States, the OECS and Caricom/CARIFORUM, expressed satisfaction with the progress made by the Standby Facility despite the global pandemic.

“We are excited 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,” he said.

The MSC Fantasia berths at the cruise line pier in Port Zante, St Kitts. With the Maritime Single Window, both passengers and cargo will experience reduced wait and processing times and decreased paper burden as documents and processes are standardised.
(Photo: Flickr)

CARIFORUM Director General Percival Marie also commended the quick support the EDF standby facility. However, he highlighted that regional projects could benefit from greater exploitation of the EPA to address existing supply-side constraints.

Collaboration and coordination

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.

The Maritime Single Window will also 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. 

“Customs authorities in beneficiary countries will receive an upgraded passenger portal to operationalise the Maritime Single Window built-in risk management capacity…”

— Daniel Best, director of projects, Caribbean Development Bank

“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,” Chamberlain Emmanuel, head of environmental sustainability at the OECS Commission, further informed.

Border security

Lt Col Michael Jones, executive director (acting) at Caricom IMPACS added that border security is critical to trade facilitation. 

“Border security agencies must maintain an appropriate balance between trade facilitation and regulatory intervention. The OECS’ economic competitiveness is hinged upon effective trade facilitation and border controls, which seek to enable legitimate trade and travel while protecting citizens,” he emphasised.