Laparkan welcomes reduction in duties on barrels in Jamaica

MIAMI – Laparkan Shipping welcomes the decision of the Government of Jamaica to introduce a flat rate of duty on barrels containing personal effects entering the Country.

The Jamaica Customs Service recently announced that it has introduced a flat rate of duty of 5,000 Jamaican dollars for barrels containing personal effects. This rate of duty does not apply to barrels with commercial quantities of merchandise.

Laparkan Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mr. Glen Khan hailed the decision as one which will “bring significant relief to the segments of the Jamaican population who depend on assistance from relatives overseas.” He explained that Laparkan’s support of this initiative “has to do with the relief it brings to the ordinary man in the street in Jamaica. The rate of duty which previously averaged $10,000 on a barrel with personal effects was just prohibitive for the needy and the working class. We had been seeing an increase in the abandonment of barrels at the Ports in Jamaica because many people simply did not have such large sums of cash to afford to pay the duty. The freight for the barrels are usually already paid for when Laparkan picks up the barrel, but we found it heart wrenching that more and more people were abandoning the barrels sent by their loved ones because they just couldn’t pay the duties.”

Mr. Khan said he sought a meeting last October with Jamaica’s Commissioner of Customs Mr. Danville Walker during which he highlighted this problem and amongst other initiatives requested that Customs review its duty assessment on barrels containing personal effects.

“We at Laparkan welcome this decision. We see it as facilitating relief to the ordinary citizens of Jamaica. We thank the Government of Jamaica for its consideration and action on this issue. At our end we will continue to keep our shipping rates competitive and affordable and continue to be a partner with the Jamaican community in the Diaspora and Jamaicans at home” Mr. Khan told media operatives in an interview during the just concluded 33rd Miami Conference on the Caribbean.

Mr. Khan said that 95 per cent of the barrels shipped from the United States contain clothing, foodstuff and medicines which are humanitarian items being sent by families. “Recent research indicates that about 20 per cent of consignees were abandoning their cargo and this was indeed heart wrenching….these people had to do without the little assistance that relatives were providing,” he told reporters.

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