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Port of Bridgetown to overhaul operations with PCS

The Port of Bridgetown in Barbados will benefit from a European Union-funded project which aims to introduce the Port Community System (PCS) to its operations.

According to a press release from the Caribbean Development Bank CDB, which disburse funding for the project, PCS is an automated online platform which will integrate users in the public and private sector and reduce logistics costs for the port’s main stakeholders.

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

While announcing the launch of the project last week Wednesday, March 3, Daniel Best, director of projects at the CDB, said the system will simplify many complex manual processes related to arriving and departing cargo at the Port while increasing overall efficiency.

“Barbados’ small open economy will overcome several hurdles with the establishment of its PCS. The fusion of technology into a major artery of local and regional trade at the Port of Bridgetown will undoubtedly impact imported cargo intended for local consumption and cargo in transit reducing operational costs and the cost of doing business,” he explained.

Daniel Best, director of projects, Caribbean Development Bank (Photo contributed)

Government transformation

The introduction of PCS forms part of a major technology-driven thrust to upgrade operations at the port, but will also contribute to fulfilling the Barbados Government’s broader vision of significantly reengineering processes to meet international obligations and contribute to national development, Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Kirk Humphries shared at the launch.

The Government of Barbados’ approach to digitalisation of our processes as a priority activity… has better positioned us to service the public, even in the midst of the challenging circumstances precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the pandemic triggered restrictions and disruptions across ports, shipping and supply chains, we at the Port of Bridgetown escalated plans for the development of digital solutions to enhance Port performance, to ensure our own business continuity,” he noted.

The minister also indicated that, beyond improving the business environment, the project will also help government departments in Barbados, including Customs and the port, to streamline processes through digitalisation.

An aerial view of the Port of Bridgetown, which is a facility managed by Barbados Port Inc (Photo: Cruise Mapper)

EU funding

In terms of funding of the project, the European Union will advance over €250,000 to the project through the European Union-financed Standby Facility. The Barbados Port Incorporated will match this amount with a contribution of approximately €286,000.

At the end of the project, which should be in 2023, the introduction of a PCS at the Port of Bridgetown will have created world-class standards in port operations.

Also speaking at the launch, Head of Delegation at the European Union in Barbados Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska stated, “EU funds are typically used to equip producers to meet international standards in food safety, technical regulations for goods, improving the capacity of manufacturers to access new markets, and improving the regulatory environment for business and improving the customs and trade facilitation process.”