NIEAB newly formed Board focusing on export and import education for business owners and residents

GLENNETT FOWLER Acting President, National Import and Export Association of The Bahamas

STAFF WRITER, FN News Desk

With new taxes seemingly being levied every day on local businesses and residents, several businesses owners came together recently, to establish the National Import and Export Association of The Bahamas (NIEAB).

Serving as NIEAB’s Acting President is Glennett Fowler; Acting Vice President is Anton Brooks; Acting Treasurer is Shantell Rolle and Acting Secretary is Stephanie Hall.

In a press release the group shared the goals of the organization, which included providing the community with information related to export and import and with reported new Tariff Taxes set to come on stream today – Monday, March 16 – NIEAB’s executives want to ensure the public is reliably informed.

Following is NIEAB’s release in its entirety.

“Since as early as 1913 in Trinidad, Jamaica in 1952 and 1948 in the State of Florida just as a point of reference courier, shipping companies and brokers have organized and operated associations to ensure the industries of which they are apart and have and continue to have representative at the highest level in their respective countries. 

The Bahamas is behind in the formation of such entities we as a body have come together to bring transparency, ethics, stronger professionalism and respect from the governing bodies for our industry. Throughout the world fellow industry organizations have positioned their associations and various professional bodies in line with government and its ruling authorities and ministries to have representation at the national/regional level to address, create and influence the regulations passed down to industry professionals.

It is now time that we as an Industry fall in line, progress our industry and move into the future as such.

The National Import and Export Association of the Bahamas consist of three level of professionals that allow the business of importation and exportation of goods (commercial and residential) legally into the country.

Group A – Brokers, Shipping Agents, Courier & Freight Forwarder

Group B – Port, Dock & Terminal Operators

Group C – Individuals & Companies

Our purpose through the formation of this association is be recognized as the professional body for the industry collective.  The main objective of the NIEA is to promote and protect the interest of professionals operating in the industry. To achieve this, NIEA seeks to become actively involved in regular liaison with all concerned Government departments, ministries and authorities. Further, we seek to garner the respect of said entities by ensuring that the members interest our protected and the members inputs are taken into consideration before any changes, new policy and decisions are made and implemented, for the overall benefit of Industry and those we serve.

Overall our mission through the NIEA seeks to provide its members with: 

• Advocacy

• Education – understanding of the Customs Management Act or CMA

• Training – currently ensure all members are versed in Single Window

• Influencing Policy and Legislation such to not impede proper governance and business

Immediate Goals:

Completion of Legal Formalities

• Bylaws & Code of Ethics

Association Branding

National Press Release

Launch of Association Website

Single Window Training

Monthly Article in Newspaper

By working closely with the private sector and the government we can promote the sustainability and growth of our industry.

Increasing our national presence, we can also become a part of the larger Associations that represent the Caribbean, North and Latin America and as far as Europe.

Key Points to Address:

1. What is the current plan ensuring only legal entities can operate in the industry?

2. What measures are going to be put into place to ensure that unlicensed entities will not be allowed to carry out illegal business?

• Click 2 Clear should be operated only by a licensed broker. 

• NO COMPANY should be operating without having a licensed broker. 

• ECAS should only be used by the person holding the licensed or an employee of the company.   

• A Custom Officer should not be submitting entries. 

• When amendments, policies, and or regulations are being implemented or changed the Association would want to have input from the drafting to passing as law. 

• We also need a list of all authorized licensed persons in the import/export business.

• What are the requirements to get persons regularized? 

•  We will end by inviting them to attend the press conference next week.   

What is a freight forwarder?

BusinessDictionary.com defines a freight forwarder as follows:

Firm specializing in arranging storage and shipping of merchandise on behalf of its shippers. It usually provides a full range of services including: tracking inland transportation, preparation of shipping and export documents, warehousing, booking cargo space, negotiating freight charges, freight consolidation, cargo insurance, and filing of insurance claims. Freight forwarders usually ship under their own bills of lading or air waybills (called house bill of lading or house air waybill) and their agents or associates at the destination (overseas freight forwarders) provide document delivery, deconsolidation, and freight collection services. Also called forwarder.

What is Air Freight?

Air freight, or air cargo allows the transport of goods quickly by air. Shipping cargo by air has always been a high cost-to-weight form of shipment, countered by the fact that it’s the fastest way to transport goods internationally.

What are the advantages of air freight?

• Time – transporting go-ods with air freight saves time – it’s much faster than shipping via ocean, rail or road transport

• Reliable – flights generally have reliable arrival and departure times with very few delays, so the shipment of cargo by air is very likely to arrive on time with regular weekly schedules.

• Low insurance premium – due to the shipment duration being so short, insurance premiums on air freight are generally lower

• Secure – the shipment of cargo by air is tightly managed by security, so the chance of cargo being stolen or damaged is low

• Less warehousing requirements – the clearance time for air freight is fast, and there’s generally less stock to unload than that for cargo ships, so customs clearance is fast, and the need for local warehousing is much lower

What is a Customs 

Broker?

Person who is licensed by the local customs, after passing an examination that covers a broad range of knowledge including customs law, customs classification, customs tariff schedule, import and export regulations, shipping procedures, trade documentation, etc. He or she acts as a professional-agent for an importer or exporter, prepares and submits all documents for clearing goods through customs, and is paid customs-brokerage. 

The National Import and Export Association of the Bahamas under formation aims to provide the community with information related to such a lifeline service to the island which is the importation and by extension the exportation of goods.

As enforcement at the boards strengthen, we have decided to create regulation within the industry to ensure proper business practices are maintained and therefore allow for professional service to be rendered to the public. Further, to ensure the public is advise of any changes to services affected by any changes to at the boarded and the industry at large.

We seek to forge trust within the community and create an environment where industry stakeholders can have a voice that is heard by the government. This will allow us to have a forum where we can sit with the relative authorities to discuss concerns and bring about relative changes.

The service provided from a local, national and international require a tedious process to take place that allows us to make required changes. The rates for standard service exclusive of the current Tariff for Duty and VAT can be seen in the below table.”

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