Barbados Electronic Single Window Launched…and Yes, it’s the Best ESW on the Planet Right Now.

The Barbados ESW launched this week and TTEK was there.  Here are a couple of news links covering the launch:

This ESW is possibly the only system designed to work alongside and in collaboration with ASYCUDA World.  Having co-developed the design and architecture, we have a close understanding of the design and its benefits.  Other customs administrations have called upon Barbados because this application and model makes sense.

First off, let’s congratulate the group of consultants and my colleagues on a job well done.  The ESW was delivered on time and on budget due to the expertise of who I believe are now among the de facto Electronic Single Window experts on the planet and include; Dan Rochon (Project Manager), Susan Savriga (Change Management Consultant), Barry Desormeaux (Business Process Re-Engineer), Mark McCutchen (Technical Architect), Bert Cunningham (Customs Modernization Expert) Michael Cooper (Delivery Executive), and the small army of application developers behind the scenes. Further, the Barbados Competiveness Program (BCP) Office led by Terry Bascombe oversaw a very complex project requiring coordination among 30+ Other Government Agencies (OGAs), to realize its success.

It was an approach and methodology that made sense form the start.  Designed and deployed using a “Cloud” Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS) framework, the system can easily be maintained and supported virtually within a 99.9% uptime environment, including business continuity/disaster relief fallback plans and response.

In our view this is the best ESW globally because of the way it was designed to provide interoperability and coordination between OGAs and Customs.  Barbados is a small country with smaller trade volumes then we might see in larger economies, making it the perfect testing ground for those larger countries to consider.  This is a true OGA management platform that provides key functions for the management and workflow of Licenses, Permits, Certificates and Other (LPCO) Control documents for the cross border movement of regulated goods. We’ve witnessed many ESW projects fall into “Analysis Paralysis” and waterfall development, but the Barbados project pushed forward, made decisions, and used an agile development methodology.  You should be proud.

When this first started 18 months ago, we proposed an ESW architecture which included several key integration points with the Customs ASYCUDA World system as well as an ability to manage the OGA License/Permit/Certificate/Other (LPCO) application and approval process.   To facilitate delivery and provide Other Government Agencies (OGAs) with a fully usable ESW platform, our initial recommendation suggested ASYCUDA World to remain as the system of record for filing import/export/in-transit declarations using the standard Single Administrative Document (SAD). 

In parallel, our ESW design promoted the ESW as the system of record for the LPCO applications and the vetting and approval process by all OGAs.  This approach staged the trading partners, customs, and all OGAs for transition from the current state to the future state of an effectively functioning ESW. This approach ensured seamless integration between all systems including ASYCUDA World, and the ESW, as well as those used by the different government border control agencies.  This solution built an ESW that connected all regulatory and border inspection and control agencies and facilitated interoperable decision making for commercial border processing.

UNCTAD initially tried to discourage the project stakeholders from any integration with ASYCUDA World, and influence a direction that promoted the scanning of paper permits in ASYCUDA as their preferred ESW solution.  Thankfully, the right solution was chosen because many of us know that scanning of permits does not a single window make; nor does it save on release times at the border.  Some countries get this wrong.  Barbados got this one right, and we hope to see an expansion of new functions and integration with ASYCUDA World.  This is really only the beginning, and Barbados has blazed a trail forward where no clear path previously existed.

ASYCUDA World cannot continue to declare itself as “all things” depending on the flavour of the day or month.  Investments have been made so let’s build on that investment.  Let’s leave it for what it really is:  A declaration filing database for Customs.  ASYCUDA is the “Automated System for Customs Data”.  It is not the “Automated System for OGA Data”.  New functions and parallel applications like an ESW can indeed integrate with this system.  Some of us have done it and will keep doing it.


The TTEK Perspective:

Technology enables people and organizations to become more productive.  Sustained economic growth is only realized when the tools, technology, training, and processes are put in place as improvements over the current status quo.  We realize this importance and keenly understand that new technologies are intimately linked to the skills and competencies of the workforce and users of an Electronic Single Window.

We aim to help make Customs, Other Government Agencies (OGAs), and the trading community more productive not only because of better technology driving cross border trading processes, but also because of the greater knowledge and understanding that these users are expected to gain.  Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) and change management activities are critical to compliment the development and delivery of an ESW.  An investment in this much technology would be of little use without the Customs, OGA, and Trader Community users who know how to operate it.

We also realize there is more to the skills and competencies required than an ability to operate the technology alone.  We believe that education and skills of this user community will generate the knowledge upon which future progress and prosperity will be built, as well as enable the adoption of an ESW in diverse lines of business associated with the cross border movement of trade.

Visit us at to learn more.