Categorized | National News

One Stop Shipping Terminal Complete

The Gladstone Freight Terminal’s (GFT) one stop shop is now complete after several shipping entities and the Customs Duties Department moved to the Fire Trail Road facility to accommodate Customs processing and the collection of container load cargo.

Officials yesterday gave the media a tour of the 15-acre facility.

The terminal, which houses 100,000 square feet of warehouse space, is now home to Tropical Shipping, Mediterranean Shipping Company, Crowley and G&G Lines.

But perhaps the cornerstone of the $17 million facility is the Customs Department, which employs 33 people.

Customs Comptroller Charles Turner said now that the department is at the terminal, officials have seen an increase of efficiency by 15 per cent.

“Generally, shipments are usually released within an hour provided that there are no queries or they are not marked for examination. The fact that this facility is open relieves the burden of the headquarters on Thompson Boulevard so that all of the entries are not sent to Thompson Boulevard,” he said.

“Additionally, there are some electronic submissions at this facility. What this means is that the time that an entry needs to be checked will diminish greatly. Someone who submits his entry electronically will receive his goods in no more than 20 minutes.”

He said the department is undergoing some modernisation exercises.

“Trade facilitation is very important and so with this new modern building, we are able to facilitate to the members of the public in a timely manner. At this facility, we can offer a one stop shop where you can pay your duties and have your goods cleared,” Mr. Turner said.

The comptroller said, however, that the smuggling of goods will always remain a concern.

“Smuggling is organised crime and organised crime will always be with us. There is a major concern with respect to the smuggling of tobacco products,” Mr. Turner said.

According to officials, the terminal is secured by the police force and is monitored through 24-hour closed circuit television (CCTV).

The terminal is also prepared for natural disasters.

In case of a hurricane where power could be shut off, the terminal could rely on a 21,000 gallon fuel tank to support a 24 watts generator.

This would allow GFT to power itself for 21 days.

APD Chief Executive Officer Michael Maura Jr. said the Gladstone Road facility can handle twice its current volume.

Mr. Maura said the company has seen some interest from Florida shipping companies to station themselves at GFT.

But he admitted that there is a struggle to bring more international companies to New Providence.

“The reality is because of very low freight rates that have existed over the last five years [elsewhere], it’s not an attractive place for carriers today at the rates that are being offered today,” he said.

“It would take something like Baha Mar to offer new opportunities to get someone to consider it. I’m sure there are carriers out there who are considering it. But obviously one of the first things they are going to do is say ‘what’s the going rate on a 40-foot container?’ If the ships that were servicing Nassau were leaving freight behind that would be an opportunity for a new carrier to enter the market.”

He continued, “We are still not out of the woods economically and I think we still have to get through some of that and let’s see Baha Mar bring some of those benefits that we think they will and I think at that point we will see some carriers showing up.”

The cost of building both the Gladstone Freight Terminal and the Arawak Cay Shipping Port was contracted for $85 million.

Officials said that there is some additional civil works to be completed at the Arawak Cay Port, which will cost an additional $2.5 million.

The estimated completion of those works is scheduled for early 2013.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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