BASSETERRE, St. Kitts –- Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states sponsored Jan. 18 workshops to inform air carriers, shipping agents and other cargo-related stakeholders about the Advanced Cargo Information Systems (ACIS).
The CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), supported by the 10th European Development Fund has actively engaged with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to facilitate the implementation of the system in CARICOM member states. Grenada Customs Officer Ezra Gilbert is part of the ASYCUDA implementation team.
This regional centralized system will fully integrate with existing Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) systems now in operational in all member states. This will allow for the electronic submission of all cargo manifests seamlessly to the regional centralized system.
“ASYCUDA is a computerized customs management system which covers most foreign trade procedures,” explained Gilbert. “The system handles manifests, customs declarations, accounting procedures, transit and suspense procedures. It generates trade data used for statistical economic analysis. The ASYCUDA software was developed in Geneva, Switzerland by UNCTAD.
ASYCUDA considers the international codes and standards developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the World Customs Organization (WCO), e.g. Data Model, and the United Nations. It can be configured to the national characteristics of individual Customs regimes and National Tariff and legislation requirements. ASYCUDA provides Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) between traders and Customs using prevailing standards such as eXtensible Mark-up Language (XML) a mark-up language designed to store and transport dataXML.
According to Gilbert, one of the main reasons why the system is valuable to customs is that it improves risk analysis, as they will now have access to more regional and international databases.
The benefits gained from the new system by Custom’s officers are real time notification and pre-alerts, access to regional and international sources of intelligence, strengthening local risk management of operations, enhanced information sharing amongst law enforcement agencies, and optimized use of human and financial resources.
The system will be beneficial to cargo reporters to increase efficiency and improve quality assurance.