In 2016, when the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) SOLAS amendments came into force, requiring all containers to be weighed before loading, PLIPDECO was ahead of the crowd.
All export containers were already being weighed at the Port of Point Lisas, with exporters happy to accept the weights provided by PLIPDECO as the accepted VGM (verified gross mass). As a result of PLIPDECO’s foresight, customers were able to experience a seamless transition when the IMO required containers to be weighed. However, investment in a new automated weighbridge system using RFID technology has made the process more efficient, including in the provision of the VGM information to stakeholders.
Approximately 4,000 containers went through the Customs and Excise Division’s new container scanners at the Port of Point Lisas in the first six months of their operation in 2018. Two mobile container scanners, one each for imports and exports, were paid for by the US Government; they have been integrated seamlessly into the flow of containers through the Port and play a vital role in border security.
The scanning technology is important in combatting the import of illegal
goods such as narcotics, firearms and ammunition. The scanning process, taking less than seven minutes, is designed to detect weapons, hazardous materials and other illegal activities such as human trafficking.
Between 40 and 80 containers a day, including reefer boxes, pass through the scanners.
When Customs or other authorities decide the container needs a full inspection, the driver is directed to the Container Examination Station (CES); a dedicated warehouse facility in a fully secured compound very close to the Port, it has ten unstuffing bays, including two with specialist reefer connections and refrigerated areas for inspection of contents. PLIPDECO manages this facility and provides the labour required.