Cabinet has approved measures to ensure that the BVI Ports Authority does not experience a repeat of the build-up of cargo at the facility similar to that experienced following the 2017 hurricanes.
The approval was given to the Board of the BVI Ports Authority on 15 January during a Cabinet meeting. This approval echoed Cabinet’s agreement with recommendations that were made by the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) Board to reduce the time in which containers can remain at the port, without penalty and to increase the storage charges for containers that remain at the port beyond the penalty free period.
These recommendations formed part of the Port’s Authority Board’s resolution. Furtherance to the recommendation was Cabinet’s decision that the Premier’s Office would instruct the Attorney General’s Chambers to draft the amendments to the Regulations in accordance with the BVI Ports Authority Act, 1990 and the Virgin Islands Statutory Rates, Fees and Charges Act, 2005.
The situation of dormant and neglected cargo was raised during 2018 as the Territory was recovering from the damages caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria. Efforts were made to remedy the situation including the decision by the then Government to hire consultants to assist with the unnerving situation at the cargo port in Purcell where residents were complaining that they were unable to receive critically needed building supplies and other important items.
The reason for the port debacle was not clear however, the matter garnered poor feedback as residents who were making use of the import duty breaks were finding it difficult to get their items off the dock. While port officials were citing space constraints. As a means of remedying the situation the government hired three consultants, among which was a specialist in Port management to ease the situation.