“May I inform all, that the fees that the government rolled back until January will not be implemented in 2022 by the ports,” Premier Fahie said during his budget speech on Thursday.
In addition to this, the Premier promised several fixes to the infrastructure and technological capacity of the BVIPA.
In announcing measures that would allow the BVIPA to ensure it continues to meet international codes and standards, Premier Fahie said the International Ship & Port Facility Security Code (ISPS) prescribed fencing is being installed at all ports.
He said there will also be proper lighting of facilities and other electronic measures to improve surveillance at all local port facilities.
In addition to this, there will be continued maintenance and upgrades of navigational aids to provide for the safe operation of vessels within the BVI’s designated harbours, the Premier assured.
COVID-19, the Premier said, has delayed the rebuilding and improvement of the information technology infrastructure which was damaged during the 2017 hurricanes.
As a result of this, most of the planned improvement of service offerings such as port management software to get cargo processed efficiently, online billing and payments, online notification of availability of cargo for collection, improvement on surveillance and establishing resiliency of port data and operations should be completed in the fourth quarter of 2022.
The Premier assured that employees remain the Port Authority’s most valuable resource, especially as it strives to improve the range and quality of service.
To this end, the continued professional development of the employees is a priority in 2022, Fahie noted.
The Authority had initially cut the working hours of some lower-level staff at the onset of COVID-19, but later restored normal service after protests.
“While COVID 19 has created some financial and operational challenges, the Authority is determined to continue to facilitate domestic and international cargo and passenger services,” the Premier stated.