By Carlena Knight
As the world continues to grapple with the effects of global supply chain issues due to the pandemic, officials in Antigua and Barbuda say they are striving to ensure there are no further delays when items reach the port.
Earlier this week, Port Manager Darwin Telemaque told Observer that although, like other countries the port is being affected by the delays, they are ensuring that all their cargo is unpacked and made available to customers.
“We hope that people would recognise that there is in fact some challenges in obtaining particular goods, certain volumes of goods, and so they may have to find ways to get those goods.
“Once they get it here, our job is to make it available to them and we will continue doing that. Whether it be containers or whether it be boxes or palettes that we need to unstuff in the warehouse, we want to be able to get people their stuff,” Telemaque said.
He added that with the new infrastructure and services that were recently implemented at the Deep Water Harbour, he does not see why there should be too many challenges.
“We have a larger warehouse. We have a closer, more integrated working relationship with Customs, we have been innovative in making this space available, reducing congestion on the other side.
“If we are able to keep this going, then I can almost guarantee that there will be no challenge as it relates to a supply chain. We may have the odd situation when a container will not be open on the day we intended to, but the objective is to ensure that all the goods that come in are available,” he explained.
Officials at the Antigua Port Authority and the Customs and Excise Division recently partnered to create a ‘one-stop-shop’ for residents who are clearing barrels and other items at the facility, thus reducing the time it takes to complete a transaction.
With the support of the government and China, the agencies have retrofitted a section of a disused warehouse to house the Tariff section to collect payments, along with Customs, port cashiers and other workers tasked with collecting monies on behalf of the Port Authority.
The new arrangement means customers will no longer need to leave the warehouse to travel to different offices to complete clearance.
Prior to the changes, persons conducting business at the port had to go to about five different offices to facilitate one transaction.