At least one international shipping agency has blamed multiple “technical issues” for its failure to deliver packages on time with the implementation of updated package clearance software at Barbados’ port of entry.
But an official at the Universal Postal Service’s (UPS) Corporate Office in Atlanta, Georgia believes customs officials, couriers, and the original shipper may be the reason the prolonged backlog exists.
Meanwhile, scores of upset Barbadians continue to approach Barbados TODAY, frustrated that their packages remain undelivered as customs officials and shipping companies attempt to absolve themselves of any blame.
According to UPS Corporate Customer Relations Manager David Te’o the delay was “in part” because the shipper “keyed in” an incorrect import number.
While admitting he was sorry the issue took so long to be corrected the manager promised to have it cleared up and the package delivered by Monday.
The official was unable to give much insight on the challenges faced by the company’s local branch attributable to the new ASYCUDA World customs software but said the lack of proper documentation and incorrect information by a shipper, a delivery company or even customs officials would result in lengthy wait periods worldwide.
“So, depending on whoever is at the customs office or inputs the information, that’s really all due to timing and if you don’t get the right people involved or don’t know who to contact, that could further delay things,” Te’o said.
He however did not know how many packages in the care of UPS were held up by these or similar circumstances.
Cherrisa Moore, a Barbadian studying in the U.K with children in Barbados said she shipped a package via DHL’s two-day delivery so her children could receive their Christmas gifts just after December 25th.
“The package was sent off on December 23rd. With bank holidays in the mix it was to arrive in Barbados on December 27th which it did. To date the package is still in Barbados’ customs awaiting a clearance event other than normal customs. I am greatly saddened by this as it means my children have not received their Christmas gifts and no one there is telling me or DHL anything,” she said.
Ezra Parris said he has had a UPS package languishing with authorities since September 5 with no progress.
“The question is, what recourse do I have? What compensation?” he asked.
The frustrated customer continued: “Customs says it is not their fault. The courier says it is not theirs. Meantime the customer suffers in a sort of hell as their possessions rot away.”
Another citizen who requested anonymity said she was having a similar issue with courier, Aeropost, who she claims is blaming customs officials for delays dating back to November last year.
“Up to now after visiting the airport branch and calling I am just being told that they have to clear a backlog from November 1, 2019. Mind you this is January. I’ve asked about compensation and they told me I must take it up with the Government,” said the concerned citizen.
“How are we as Barbadians paying for a service and cannot receive our packages in a timely manner? My children went without Christmas presents because Aeropost claims customs is the delay. This needs to be highlighted as a matter or urgency.”
Meanwhile, Comptroller of Customs Owen Holder denied that the Customs and Excise Department is responsible for the issues and has warned against spreading information that is “absolutely untrue” about his department.
He insisted to Barbados TODAY that despite some kinks which affected the system when it was initially implemented, ASYCUDA World is now working “perfectly”. The problem, he suggested, is with some couriers who are simply refusing to make necessary adjustments to their internal processes. [email protected]