Following backlash from a number of residents and businesses across the territory, the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) has announced that they will be reviewing their recently increased port fees.
The BVIPA made the announcement in a brief media statement on Wednesday February 3.
In the statement, the Authority said it noted the many concerns raised by the public and were in the process of reviewing the issues.
“The BVI Ports Authority, (BVIPA) values the concerns raised by the public and our stakeholders as a result of the fee adjustments as amended in the British Virgin Islands Ports Authority (Amended) Regulations, 2020. The BVIPA is considering the concerns raised and can assure that the matter is under review,” the BVIPA stated.
BVIPA initially said the fees were overdue
According to the BVIPA in initial media release, it said that the adjustment of the fees was overdue and were necessary for the efficient and effective operations of the port, and to ensure further development for all port facilities across the territory.
Immediately following the announcement, many businesses and residents had taken to social media to express their discontent with the new fees, which some said had increased in some instances by more than 100 percent.
The BVI Chamber of Commerce & Hotel Association (BVICCHA) which is the body that speaks on behalf of member businesses and the wider business community, called on the BVIPA to withhold the recent hike in fees and hold consultation with stakeholders who will be affected by the increased costs.
The BVICCHA labelled the Port Authority’s decision as “unacceptable”, stating that business owners were not given adequate notice.
Fees raised by more than 500%
BVICCHA also pointed to instances where the BVIPA had increased some of the fees by 500 percent, where fees had jumped from $500 to $2,500.
With such a hike in fees which will affect the importation of all goods into the territory, the main concern raised by business owners was that it would result in the increase of most items in BVI. This would therefore further raise the cost of living in an already impacted economy battling the effects of COVID-19.
The Ports Authority has said that it will provide further updates on the matter “as soon as possible.”
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