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Jan 22, 2019

2-Day Workshop for Customs, Shipping and Airlines Agents

The CARICOM IMPACS, with support from the European Development Fund have been working with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development to implement the Advanced Cargo Information Systems in the CARICOM member states. ACIS will first be piloted in Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica and Grenada where they have already enacted legislation for the system to be implemented. Today, a two-day sensitization workshop for customs officials and shipping agents opened in Belize City.  Users of the new system will see benefits such improved efficiency and quality assurance; real time notification and pre-alerts; users will have access to regional and international sources of intelligence; as well as enhanced information sharing amongst law enforcement agencies. Reporter Andrea Polanco tells us more.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

A two day workshop for customs officers, cargo reporting personnel such as shipping and airline agents kicked off today in Belize City. The purpose is to introduce the Advance Cargo Information System (ACIS) to the participants and what they will need to do when submitting cargo information. ACIS is a computer-based information system to track transport equipment and cargo. It is being introduced across the CARICOM.


Rigel Bowen

Rigel Bowen, Acting Systems Administrator, Customs & Excise Department

“They will be the ones who will be directly interfacing with this body and submitting their data through them which will be filtered as well to us. It is for them to understand the nature of the process as it is going to work, the benefits that come from it and what is required of them once that has been enacted in law.  We will receive and transmit and share advanced cargo data for all cargo coming to and from Belize and being shared among all CARICOM member states. The information will be sent to the JRCC which is the regional body for crime and security. They will be filtering this data to help us and the other members’ states with risk analysis which will help us to identify risks quicker and to develop a strategy in how to deal with these risk risks as they come up.”


This workshop is being supported by the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS). ICT Manager Anselm Charles says ACIS will standardize the data collected. He explains how it works.


Anselm Charles

Anselm Charles, ICT Manager, CARICOM IMPACS

“It provides a single window or a single point where the cargo reporter makes a submission. When that submission is made, the system automatically transmits that submission directly to Belize Customs and directly to CARICOM IMPACS at the same time. We get it at the same time. The system doesn’t allow for CARICOM IMPACS to make any changes, so the authority still remains with Belize Customs. What we do, because we have operational agreements with international bodies, we are able to provide Belize with a wider scope as it relates to risk analysis. That allows us to provide that support to Belize Customs so that they can see the overview of the point of origin to Belize and not just the Belize portion of that risk analysis.”


For now, the system is being piloted in three CARICOM countries. The full roll-out is expected in the next four to five months – but that is only if system and technical requirements are in place, and backed up by the appropriate legislation. This system will act as a part of “border security” as information of persons and places of interests will be flagged – linking people and cargo together for a detailed look.


Rigel Bowen

“What this does is to provide a filter for customs to help hone in on our risk management capabilities and help us to identify high and low risks and to mitigate all the excess baggage that comes with doing some of those things all the time.”


Andrea Polanco

“What are some of those risks?”


Rigel Bowen

“We are talking about the chain of custody for cargo; the point of origin for some cargo; we are talking about having risk shipments imported from known risk areas. If you can recall, some time ago we had an issue with pseudoephedrine which came from the Asian continent. So, you look at shipments that would come from there and you can identify how you will mitigate dealing with that kind of shipment.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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