Customs urges brokers to attend Click2Clear training sessions

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To improve the user experience with Click2Clear, the Customs online portal, the Department of Customs is urging brokers to attend free training sessions and refresher courses that will be offered in the New
Year.

Since the summer of 2018, Customs has trained 430 couriers and brokers in Nassau, along with hundreds of other professionals in the import industry in the Capital and across the Family Islands. However, some brokers are finding the system to be more labor intensive because they have a steeper digital learning curve and may not have sufficient training. The system does require more information and a high level of accuracy, but Customs brokers who took advantage of the free training sessions and were already computer savvy are performing better than others. While there have been some technical issues along the way, some of the hiccups are resulting from human error or a lack of familiarity with Customs procedures.

At a recent stakeholder meeting in early December with brokers and other importers, Suzanne Watson, an in-house broker with AID, attested to the benefit of the training sessions: “Brokers that did not go to the classes did themselves a disservice. Turnout was not as great as I think Customs wanted it to be. Many of the complaints are a matter of training for the end user. It is a different technology and it requires more information, so it is important for brokers to be trained in the system,” said Ms Watson.

“Once I got over the learning curve, it was smooth. At first our issue was with the size of the declarations, because ours have 700-800 lines. However, now, we have no issues with that. I attended multiple broker classes in July and August for the hands-on training and that was very helpful for me. Customs even offered to do an in-house training at our offices. Plus, we had help from Crimson Logic the software development company, Superintendent Hudson and Chief Customs Officer Albury from the Customs IT Team,” she said.

Antoinette Higgs, a licensed broker with A&S Customs Brokerage, had a similar experience: “There are many people who are not computer literate and they have to upgrade their skills. They should not blame
Customs for that. Customs had so many training sessions.

They sent emails upon emails inviting brokers to free training: For a lot of the sessions, the classrooms were empty. People were not taking the new system seriously, and a lot of brokers did not take advantage of the opportunities to learn.”

“There are people who are blaming the system when in truth, many brokers are simply taking on work that they cannot handle. It is easier to lie on Customs than to admit that. I don’t mind saying it publically
because it is the truth,” said Ms Higgs. “Everyone is on a learning curve, but not everyone is taking responsibility for their level of proficiency. What is not being said or acknowledged is that many brokers are not up to the level of proficiency that they ought to be. They may be using manual releases or hiding the fact that they are overwhelmed or not technologically savvy. Some are failing to communicate to managers or business owners that their IT system are not up to the level they ought to be.

In fairness, Customs is being blamed for many issues that sit squarely at the feet of brokers and businesses,” said Geannie Moss, Comptroller of Customs. “We find it very unfortunate that a few vocal clients are drowning out the sentiments of the majority of users for whom the Click2Clear system is working. We have had growing pains, but we are working through technical issues in an aggressive and proactive way. We welcome the criticism. We just want it to be constructive, true and fair,” said Comptroller Moss.

Last week, every Customs officer who works in operations – from managers down the line – had to participate in a mandatory training refresher, recognizing that Customs officers are also on a learning
curve. By taking a proactive approach, Customs expects to see fewer errors made by officers moving forward, such as unwarranted rejections. The system also tracks the actions of individual Customs officers to bring more internal accountability and control. This tracking is available to end users as well.

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