Jamaicans, especially members of the Diaspora, are invited to participate in the first in a series of ‘Customs meets the Community-the Diaspora Online Edition’ forum on Monday, March 11 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.The engagement is a Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) public education initiative designed to engage various stakeholders and clients on customs-related matters.The JCA’s Public Relations and Customer Service Director, LaDonna Manning, told JIS News that persons may participate via their electronic devices by logging onto any of the sites or social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter or Facebook) accessible at www.jacustoms.gov.jm, or through similar channels hosted by the Gleaner or Nationwide 90 FM.The session will be streamed live, thereby enabling persons to submit questions and have them answered immediately. Individuals can also tune in to the Jamaica News Network to watch the session.Panelists and resource persons slated to participate include representatives from the Ministries of Finance and the Public Service, and Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; National Education Trust; Health for life and Wellness Foundation; the Department of Cooperatives and Friendly Societies; the Plant Quarantine Unit; the Veterinary Services Division; the Trade Board; and the JCA.Ms Manning said one of the initiative’s objectives is to provide a medium for stakeholder feedback.“We want to hear from them [about] the challenges that they might have, and also their recommendations as to how we, as an Agency, can serve them more effectively,” she pointed out.Ms. Manning indicated that the session will serve to inform, educate, and provide clarity on matters regarding charitable items being brought in, among other things.“Persons sometimes wish to send things to charities in Jamaica, but are unaware of the protocols. So this engagement should inform persons of the do’s and the don’ts,” she added.Ms. Manning further indicated that the session will inform members of the Diaspora wishing to return home, about the concessions available to them and the requisite steps to access these benefits.She assured that “persons can expect to leave the session better informed, better educated and much more comfortable doing business with the Agency”.“The JCA will continue to seek various ways to channel information to our customers, wherever they are, [and] to serve them as best we can, as we must continue to be customer-focused, transparent, professional and accountable,” Ms. Manning added.
zoom On its way to further position Panama as the logistics hub of the Americas, the Expanded Panama Canal has set a number of records and surpassed expectations in its first year of operations, resulting in redrawn global trade routes.Over the past 12 months from its inauguration date of June 26, the Expanded Canal’s performance “has exceeded nearly all expectations.”During the period, more than 1,500 Neopanamax vessels transited the new locks, according to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).Containerships represent some 46.8 percent of traffic through the waterway, followed by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carriers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers, which represent around 34.2 and 9.4 percent, respectively. Other segments such as bulk carriers, tankers, car carriers, and passenger vessels have also transited the new locks.Additionally, Panama Canal’s tonnage has increased by 22.2 percent when comparing the 2016 and 2017 fiscal year. On average, 5.9 vessels transit the Expanded Canal per day, surpassing original forecasts of two to three daily transits for the first year of operation.Fifteen new liner services opted to transit the Expanded Locks, “as shipping lines continue to reroute their services to take advantage of the economies of scale offered by the Expanded Canal.”The one-year anniversary of the canal’s inauguration, one of the most significant milestones in the history of the 102-year old waterway and a defining moment for the people of Panama and the broader maritime industry, will be commemorated on June 26, 2017.All vessels transiting on Monday will receive a commemorative first anniversary plaque, the ACP informed.
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