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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (February 9, 2001 – Marshall Islands Journal)---Port and shipping-related agencies, together with national and local governments, are banding together to make life easier for private sector importers.

Since mid-January, work has been proceeding on establishing a facility for a new "One Stop Shop" at the Delap Dock to streamline the cargo-clearing process.

"It’s going to be a big improvement," said R&D Secretary Fredrick Muller, who has attended many chamber of Commerce meetings where the subject has been discussed and has been leading the government’s push for the new facility.

"It won’t really be a ‘one stop shop,’ he added. But "we’ve reduced the number of stops from five to three." He expects the facility to be open next week.

"It’s a good example of the private sector and the government working together," Muller said.

This follows several years of discussions between private companies and government officials about developing a system that reduces sometimes lengthy delays in releasing cargo from Majuro ports.

Marshall Islands Port Authority and Majuro Stevedores have placed a container and a trailer near the Delap container yard checkpoint, and are outfitting them to function as an office for the One Stop Shop.

The dockside office will open on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday basis, with Port Authority, Stevedore and shipping agents available for easy clearance of documents.

Muller said it would probably take some time to get everything running smoothly at this new office, but said that he’s sure that once it opens, the various offices cooperating on the venture will come up with creative ways to provide the new dockside service.

RMI Customs and Majuro Atoll Local Government’s tax section will remain in their current locations, but are supportive of the new One Stop arrangement and have been attending planning meetings with the other agencies. A Customs official said that while clearance must still be obtained at their Ministry of Finance office, providing support in the form of staff for container inspections to assist the shipping agencies would not be a problem.

The new dockside facility will be managed by the Marshall Islands Port Authority.

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail:  Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail). 

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