The BPA is going digital
The Belize Port Authority (BPA) has partnered with the World Bank to move the organization toward a more modern and digital era of operation. Today, the organizations held a workshop where the BPA presented a report on the current status of “Port Digitalization” in Belize and methods of improvement. The detailed study identified a road map and necessary strategies aimed at digitalizing ports across the country. Acting Ports Commissioner, Darlin Gaitan, says that the target audience is the port community stakeholders and explains the importance of the initiative.
Darlin Gaitan, Acting Ports Commissioner: “For the port similarly to other industries we are digitalizing processes in terms of how we conduct business and for the largest part you will find within the workshop that most of our processes are paper based or email based so it isn’t digitalized so it’s not effective and it’s very costly to the end user. So all of those present opportunities for us to enhance our competitiveness through digitalizing our systems. So it presents a lot of opportunities and a lot of benefits to various users and so that is what we hope to share today and to have the port community system form and actually carry out the work because ith as benefits for each and every player within the system and so that is the message that we’re trying to bring across here. So one of the examples that I would put forward is real time data. When a ship is coming into port if all of you are connected to receiving the real time data of where the ship is, where your cargo is, when your cargo is offloaded, when your cargo is at port, when it’s ready to be discharged ,when it has been cleared by customs that makes your processes from the business side more efficient because you’re able to plan ahead. And so imagine the benefits of all those players that have access to real time information and be able to make real time decisions in a more effective and efficient manner and at the end of it we’re trying to promote trade. When we talk about shipping we’re talking about trade and I know one of the goals of the current government is reducing the trade deficit. Well most of the goods coming to Belize are coming through the ports and this is worldwide as well so why not look to the port sector and build those efficiencies there? Build more resilience within that system so that we’re able to reduce that trade deficit, we’re able to improve on our port performance and have more ships coming here, more goods coming to Belize because it’s an efficient port and it’s a port that has the available infrastructure for you to trade easier.”
Gaitan further explained that the goal of the project is to implement more efficient methods of operation to improve trade across sectors. She says that the BPA will now be moving toward the second phase of the partnership with the World Bank.
Darlin Gaitan, Acting Ports Commissioner: “The current project that has ended, the first phase of the project was technical assistance and so they provided technical assistance for the status, the roadmap and the strategy. However we’re going into the second phase of that project which is actual implementation and so within implementation you’re going to find that we need capacity building, we need infrastructure, we need legislative review so we have various needs for the implementation to take place and that is the second conversation we’re going to be having with the World Bank in terms their avenues for continued cooperation with the Government of Belize. You will find in our port community council that we have targeted not only government agencies, Customs Department, BAHA, Immigration and so on because they deal with the clearing of vessels and in the case of Customs the clearing of goods as well but you will also find here the end user. You have the Chamber of Commerce that represents importers and exporters and in the end they’re the ones that are going to feel what the tariffs are and the freight rates are and that eventually passes down to customer. So all of us should be deeply connected to our ports because everything that you purchase very likely came from a ship and very likely has implications to the cost because of inefficient systems or because of efficient systems that we want to introduce. So everyone in Belize should be feel deeply connected to the port sector.”