Investigations have revealed that the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) is not to blame for the lengthy delays residents experienced to get their imports cleared at the local ports.
Following the September 2017 hurricanes, the BVIPA was heavily criticized and accused of forcing residents to wait several weeks to clear their goods.
But, according to the Ministry of Communications and Works, residents are mostly to blame for the very delays they complained about.
“We’ve done the investigations from the ministry to see whether or not the port is actually slow in getting the stuff to residents. What we are finding out is that in every investigation that we have done, the goods came but the paperwork [to clear the goods] is held up between the agent and the importer for whatever reason,” said the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Anthony McMaster.
“By the time the paperwork actually gets to the ports, it takes possibly two to three days at the longest,” McMaster added.
Back in October, the BVIPA said the delay in releasing goods to residents was due to damage caused to the port facilities by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
How to collect imported goods
When collecting imports, residents are first notified by their shipping agent that cargo has arrived and is available for pick up. The shipper will then provide a bill of lading with their applicable shipping charges.
Once those charges are paid, customers should take both the bill of laden and their receipt to a broker for the preparation of an HMC-12 form.
After the form is completed, customers should take the form to HM Customs at the Port Purcell office for the payment of any Customs duty, if applicable.
Once charges are paid, customers are required to pay wharfage/storage and moving fees, if applicable.
There are no storage fees if goods or supplies are collected within five days of arrival.
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