Commissioner of Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA),Velma Ricketts Walker, says that a legislative framework, which promotes future business opportunities for Jamaica in the shipping industry and international trade, is currently being undertaken.
She says that among the laws to be affected by the changes is the current Customs Act, which is to be repealed and replaced.
“The new Customs Act will incorporate the concept of the Special Economic Zones, and provide a modern legal framework to improve and facilitate logistics,” she said.
She revealed that, in revising the legislation, Customs has undertaken consultations with stakeholders, including the Shipping Association of Jamaica.
The Customs Commissioner was speaking on Saturday night at the anniversary Gala and Awards Banquet celebrating the 45th anniversary of leading logistics, cargo and cruise agent, Lannaman and Morris Shipping Limited, at Devon House in Kingston.
Lannaman & Morris Shipping was established by Vance Lannaman and Ainsley Morris in 1973, before being purchased by Harry Maragh in 1997. Since its inception, the company has represented big shipping names such as Evergreen Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Carnival Cruise Line.
Commissioner Ricketts Walker said that the JCA was also aware that there are some concerns among companies like Lannaman & Morris, as it relates to the acceptance or use of their recommendations.
“But, rest assured that your input has been taken seriously,” she told guests at the black tie function.
“Together, we must continuously seek to enhance what we do, in order to ensure the effective flow of cargo and containers across borders, while effectively ensuring the protection of our country and people,” she added.
She said that the Jamaica Customs Agency saluted Lannaman & Morris for its commitment and contribution to Jamaica.
“Indeed your performance and service over the years support the National Development Goal, for Jamaica to be the place of choice 'to live, work, raise families, and do business',” she said.
The staff of Lannaman & Morris paid tribute to chairman and chief executive officer (CEO), Harriat “Harry” Maragh, in a citation which stated that his diligence “knows no bounds”.
“He entered the shipping industry at the age of 24 years, working as a documentation clerk, and quietly, but steadily, rose through the ranks as a top-class sales representative, sales manager, general manager and soon after, managing director.
“He continued along this path of growth and soon bought the Lannaman and Morris Group of Companies which, under his leadership, has been transformed into the Caribbean's most diversified shipping company; and has helped to revolutionise the shipping industry in the region.
A former president of the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ), Harry Maragh is regarded as an expert negotiator, and is credited with spearheading the landmark and historic merger which created Kingston Wharves. He was also instrumental in the development and growth of Seafreight Shipping Lines, of which he eventually became Chairman and Shareholder.
Under his stewardship, Seafreight Shipping became the first and oldest shipping line owned and managed by Caribbean nationals.
Established in 1973, Lannaman and Morris is regarded as one of the best known and most widely respected shipping agents in the Caribbean. The company represents 70 per cent of all cruise lines visiting Jamaica and 15 per cent of cargo tonnage entering the island's ports.
The company has also managed the Ocho Rios Cruise Ship Terminal on behalf of The Port Authority for over 40 years. The Ocho Rios Cruise Ship Terminal is ranked in the top 12 cruise terminals in the Western hemisphere by Lloyds of London, and today is the most profitable and efficient cruise terminal in Jamaica.
Maragh, chairman and chief executive officer of Lannaman & Morris Shipping since 1997, said the company's success is due to its strong customer base and excellent teamwork.
“We couldn't have reached this mark without the loyal support of our clients over the years, but more so, this is a marked achievement for the team, our staff members who have dedicated themselves to improving service delivery, upholding our strong values and building the company into one of the best in this part of the world,” he said.
The company has developed into a highly diversified maritime group with a wide range of commercial interests including Port and Terminal Management, Logistics & Supply Chain Management, and International Transport & Management Consultancy.
Additionally, it is the appointed agent for a number of internationally known Carriers and Major Tramp-type Operations.