Businesses involved in imports experiencing delays in the arrivals and clearing of good
The Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, JCC, said businesses involved in imports are experiencing delays in the arrival and clearing of raw materials and finished goods.
It said some cargo ships are being held offshore for lengthy periods before being able to offload their containers.
In some cases too, these vessels have opted to go to other ports to unload their Jamaica-bound cargo, relying on feeder ships to move that cargo back to Jamaica.
According to the JCC, as a consequence, clearance time in some instances has moved from 6, to 12, or more days.
JCC President Ian Neita said this situation is causing concern, given the fact that the Christmas sales period is imminent, and retailers are still feeling the effects of significantly reduced revenues, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr. Neita explained that while some of the world’s major production centres are coming back online, its undeniable that international business is still experiencing the knock-on effects of pandemic-induced lock downs and supply chain disruptions.
He highlighted the fact that in some cases, distributors and retailers are holding higher levels of inventory, as a buffer against future disruption.
He said the chamber has been in discussions with a number of port operators to look at measures that may mitigate the situation.
These include, working closely with cargo lines to ensure that container vessels are stacked in a manner that segregates domestic and tran-shipment cargo, at the point of loading.
Mr. Neita said to the extent that this is possible, it could result in reduced off-loading time, at the docks.
Another measure, is for Jamaican importers to have their containers cleared as quickly as possible after arrival, because a number of ports are experiencing a backlog of uncleared cargo, which also contributes to the delay in offloading vessels.
Mr. Neita also noted that in some instances, due to financing issues, or lack of space to hold inventory at warehouses, importers may not be in a position to move their products quickly.
He added that steps are being taken to ease the situation, but the problems may exist for sometime.