Jamaica Chamber of Commerce cites serious ‘congestion issues’ at ports Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) has indicated that its members within the import community are now experiencing delays in the arrival and clearing of raw materials and finished goods, citing that some cargo ships are being held offshore for lengthy periods before being able to offload containers.

The JCCI, in a release, said in some cases too, the vessels have opted to go to other ports to unload their Jamaica-bound cargo, relying on feeder ships to move the cargo back to Jamaica.

The chamber said as a consequence, clearance time in some instances has moved from approximately six days to 12 or more days.

This situation, JCC President Ian Neita noted in remarks during Thursday morning’s meeting of its Executive Committee, is causing some 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.

Commenting on the issue, Neita said while some of the world’s major production centres are coming back online, it is undeniable that international business is still experiencing the knock-on effects of pandemic-induced lockdowns 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 JCC has been in discussions with a number of port operators to look at measures that may mitigate the situation. One such, he advised, is to work more closely with cargo lines to ensure that container vessels are stacked in a manner that segregates domestic and transhipment cargo at the point of loading. Neita said to the extent that this is possible, it could result in reduced offloading time at the docks.

Another measure, he shared, is for Jamaican importers to have their containers cleared as quickly as possible after arrival, as a number of ports are experiencing a backlog of un-cleared cargo which also contributes to the delay in offloading vessels.

Neita expressed the JCC’s support for the proposals, even as he noted that there are instances, due to financing issues, or due to the lack of space to hold inventory at their warehouses, where the importers may not be in a position to move their products as quickly as they would wish.

Neita concluded by thanking the port operators for their understanding of the challenges of the importers and their expressed willingness to work with the business community to find solutions.