After more than two months, the shipment of vehicles the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) prevented from being discharged at its Port Purcell cargo facility has finally been allowed to return and offload.
The shipment, which contained 109 vehicles, a tractor, and a boat, was allowed to discharge on Sunday, May 31.
However, residents who had ordered these vehicles were made to pay unplanned expenses ranging between $220 to $330 per vehicle. These were expenses that accrued when the ship carrying the vehicles had to seek out storage facilities in other countries in the region.
“There were lots of complaints. They (residents) weren’t happy,” said Christopher Haycraft, the Managing Director of Island Shipping — the local agent for the ship responsible for transporting the vehicles.
“Some were just not happy but they understood and they paid. Some thought that we were the ones collecting the money and keeping it and so we educated them that this was the shipping line’s costs and we were just collecting on their behalf,” he explained.
“The little man ended up having to pay through no fault of his own but due to the unfortunate decisions made by senior management [of the BVIPA],” Haycraft further told our news centre.
Back in March, the ship carrying the vehicles was given approval from local health authorities to dock and discharge the cargo. But when it arrived, the BVIPA barred it from offloading.
In a subsequent letter to Haycraft, the BVIPA claimed that non-essential cargo — all goods that do not fall into the category of food, COVID-19-related response supplies, fuel, and medication — would not be accepted into the territory because of health concerns related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
However, health officials later confirmed with our news centre that no such instruction was given to the then Oleavine Maynard-led Port Authority.
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