COVID lockdown pushes imports increase

CBC feels the pressure

There has been an upsurge in the amount of imports arriving in Cayman.

Online shopping appeared to have been a popular hobby for many in Cayman while they were shuttered in due to the COVID-19 restrictions, with Customs and Border Control reporting a record-breaking amount of imported goods.

The CBC, in a media statement over the weekend, said during the month of June, 18,000 individual imports were recorded in Cayman – 5,000 more than the previous month.

“The increase of imports are directly linked to travel restrictions, so the normal baggage imports by passengers are now being routed through couriers and other consolidated cargo imports,” CBC Deputy Director Kevin Walton said in the statement.

The CBC reported that, as the borders remain closed, the trend for shopping online and importing goods has continued to increase, with almost 5,000 individual imports already received in the first week of July.

Cayman’s borders were closed back in March.

Premier Alden McLaughlin has said government is working towards a 1 Sept. reopening date, and he has established a committee to develop a strategy to unlock the borders safely.

The increased imports, the CBC said, has placed a great strain on the resources of the agency, as well as on couriers and consolidated agents.

“As a result, CBC has deployed additional officers to manage the increase,” it said.

No number was provided in terms of the additional staffing implemented.

However, CBC is reminding the public of the importance of completing and submitting an Appointment of Agent Authorisation (AoA) form when using courier or broker services, which assists with the timely processing of packages. This, as well as providing all necessary documents to the agent, is the importer’s responsibility.

“Approximately 40% of imports to the Cayman Islands arrive with the incorrect invoice, contributing to further delays in accessing goods. To avoid delays, customers should provide CBC [with] supplier/sale invoice(s) [and] suppliers’ commercial invoice with the required proof of payment,” the statement added.

The completed AoA form should be signed, dated and accompanied by a valid, legible government-issued identification.

“An example of acceptable forms for identification includes a passport or driver’s licence, and colour copies are preferred. The appointed agent should have the completed form at least 48 hours prior to the arrival of goods, and customers are urged to submit the appropriate invoice in order to expedite the clearing of their goods,” the CBC said.

Courier-system-generated commercial or handwritten invoices are not acceptable and the misrepresentation or omission of the value of goods can further delay the process, the CBC statement said.

For more information, contact CBC at 949-4579 or visit www.cbc.gov.ky.

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