Thousands of Jamaicans in the Diaspora are expected to return home for extended vacations this year as the island-nation celebrates its 50th Independence anniversary in August. It is also anticipated that they will be shipping back increased numbers of barrels and boxes of personal effects, says Marguerite Taylor, general manager of Laparkan Shipping Jamaica Ltd.
In order to effectively and efficiently handle the projected increase in cargo, Laparkan Shipping has introduced several services to make it easy for its customers to clear their cargo at the ports in Kingston and Montego Bay.
“In fact we introduced many of these services sometime ago and will be intensifying the delivery of these services to meet the anticipated demand which will come about as more personal effects are shipped back to Jamaica by those going home for the Independence celebrations,” Taylor told Caribbean Life in an interview.
Taylor and a team from Laparkan Shipping visited Caribbean Life and were hosted by the editor and his team. She is in New York on a week-long visit to meet with the Jamaican communities in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Irvington and Patterson, New Jersey to update them on Laparkan’s services in Jamaica.
She said Jamaican consumers expect a high level of customer service from the businesses they patronize and Laparkan Shipping has responded to this growing expectation by introducing these services to make it easy for its customers to clear their cargo.
“Clearing cargo at the ports in Jamaica could be a long and sometimes costly exercise especially for those Jamaicans traveling from rural areas on the island. We at Laparkan recognized the need to make it more convenient and less time consuming for customers clearing their boxes and barrels so we have introduced some services which help to make this exercise hassle free. To begin with we offer free transportation from our office to the port for those customers who need it. There are several who travel long distances by public transportation to get to our office and after conducting business there then need to go to the port and so we provide free transportation if needed,” Taylor said.
Another of the services Taylor said is Laparkan’s ‘Customer Assist Program’ which provides for a Laparkan customer service representative to accompany a customer to the port to handle all the documentation and the inspection of the cargo by the Jamaica Customs Service.
“We do all this for the customer who just has to sit and wait for the process to be completed. Quite often we have customers who are intimidated by the paperwork or who sometimes just can’t handle the stress and so we do all the work for them. We are the only shipping company to my knowledge that provides such a service in Jamaica,” she said.
“We also offer a one-stop service program through which, with the authorization of a customer we handle the clearing of their barrels and boxes and have these ready at our office for pick up. Customers using this program are in and out of our office within seven minutes with their cargo,” Taylor said.
Laparkan has offices in Kingston and Montego Bay and employs more than 30 Jamaicans.