To support the continuation of business and rebuilding in the Virgin Islands following the passage of Hurricane Irma on September 6, the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) is extending its hours, effective Wednesday, November 1. Customers will have access to services at the Port Purcell facility from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Monday through Friday and from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays.
Acting Managing Director of the BVIPA, Al Henley said the extension of hours is a demonstration of their commitment to supporting the Territory during this time. “We know that it cannot be business as usual. We have seen a 300 percent increase in the volume of goods coming into the ports, so we are doing our part to demonstrate that we understand what is required to support businesses and residents during this time.”
One of the two main warehouses at the Port Purcell facility was severely damaged during the hurricane and impacted storage of cargo, which caused some delay in releasing cargo to residents. Henley said his team has devised a temporary system to secure cargo coming into the facility to address this, but would like to appeal to the public to also understand the clearing process so that they might save time and even money.
Residents wishing to utilise the main seaport for the importation of goods and supplies are reminded that there is a three-agency process, involving their shipper, Her Majesty’s Customs, followed by the BVIPA.
Residents are first notified by their shipping agent that cargo has arrived and is available for pick up. The shipper will provide a bill of lading with their applicable shipping charges. Once those charges are paid, customers should take both the bill of lading and their receipt to a broker for the preparation of an HMC-12 form. After that form is completed, customers should take the form to HM Customs at the Port Purcell office for the payment of any customs duty if applicable and customs charge. Once charges are paid, customers are required to pay wharfage, storage and moving fees, if applicable. The BVIPA reminds customers that there are no storage fees if goods or supplies are picked up within five days of arrival.
To assist residents even further, beginning Monday, November 6, the BVIPA will be informing customers once cargo is ready for collection via social media, its website (www.bviports.org), and by telephone. Customers can also reach BVIPA for answers to questions by calling telephone numbers 442-0808 or 340-3537 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m, Monday through Friday.