Businesses are continuing to experience delays in clearing goods at Customs, complaining it is a headache at this time of year.
Barbados TODAY understands that a number of businesses have been reporting delays, which they said was creating a ripple effect, including interruptions in payment to suppliers.
The Christmas period normally sees a rise in the importation of goods by both businesses and individuals, and with mere days to go before Christmas and New Year’s Eve, importers are even more eager to clear their items in time for the season.
Confirming that a number of businesses had been reporting delays at the Bridgetown Port over the past couple of weeks, President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) Eddy Abed blamed inefficiencies at Customs.
“We have found historically that the port has had its issues in terms of delivering cargo in an efficient and consistent basis. So this time of the year the problem is magnified.
“So I am fully aware that there are problems. The solutions have been spoken about many, many times and it is a question now for the Port to start implementing their measures to correct it because this is extremely frustrating for the importers. Whether it is individuals or business houses, we need to be able to get out goods on a timely basis,” Abed said.
The BCCI head told Barbados TODAY the delays were also having a negative impact on some truckers who depended on the transportation of goods for a living.
“They are not paid by the hour, they are paid by the trip, and there are several truckers that I am aware of that there are days that they don’t even get one trip,” he said.
“It becomes magnified at this time of year but the problem persists throughout the year and it really is time that we need to solve this,” he added.
Following a series delays and industrial action by the National Union of Public Workers, Government announced at the end of October that the transition of the Customs & Excise Department to the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) had started.
Among other things, the merger was expected to result in a more efficient process.