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Older cars get an import ban

Front Pages 04 May, 2023 Follow News

Older cars get an import ban

As from 1st May, a new order has come into force that restricts the import of most cars older than seven years, so, for this year, most cars made in 2015 or earlier will now not be permitted to be imported by anyone.

This move by government is the first in a series of actions to try and help improve road safety and manage traffic congestion during peak commute times. Government said just less than 40,000 cars were imported into the Cayman Islands from 2012 to 2022 with an average of 3,926 each year. But during the last 5 years from 2018 to 2022, the total number of cars imported was 23,953, with an annual average of 4,790 cars imported.  The average age of vehicles being imported had also gone up.

Premier and Minister for Sustainability and Climate Resiliency, Wayne Panton, said the new restriction to limit the age of cars that could be imported would help slow down the number of older cars entering the islands. Importation of cars aged 11 to 20 years had doubled from 32% in 2020 to 63% in 2022.

“These older vehicles are often cheaper to purchase but they are harder to maintain and will drive higher demand for replacement vehicles; these older vehicles end up abandoned and left for government to dispose of,” he said. “This solution is aimed at reducing traffic congestion and at increasing the fuel efficiency, emission standards, and overall safety of vehicles on our roads. The increase in the number of older cars also increases dangerous emissions as older vehicles are less fuel-efficient and more likely to cause air pollution.”

Vehicles used for agricultural work, construction, maintenance or engineering older than 8 years will be exempt from the ban, as will classic and antique vehicles, and there will be no change to the existing conditions imposed for import of Omnibuses.

Vehicles bought before 1st May, even if they have not yet arrived on-island, will not be affected by the Order. Importers will be asked to provide the required proof of these transactions, as specified in the Order, to Customs and Border Control.

The Minister for Border Control and Labour, Dwayne Seymour, said that addressing the problem of unrestricted vehicle importation was a significant step towards securing a viable, long-lasting solution to Cayman’s traffic problem.

“The enforcement of the new Customs and Border Control (Prohibited Goods) (Amendment) Order, 2023 is not intended to jeopardise residents from purchasing necessary vehicles, but to help restore the quality of life on our roads that Caymanians once enjoyed and now demand. I am proud of the hard work of CBC and our policy makers for helping the country begin to find a solution for the on-going traffic crisis.” 

He noted that regional countries that currently have restrictions for imports based on the age of vehicles include Jamaica, Barbados, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, and St. Kitts and Nevis.

CBC Director Charles Clifford sad they would rigorously enforce the Customs and Border Control (Prohibited Goods) (Amendment) Order, 2023.

“To be clear, a prohibited commodity cannot, under any circumstances, be lawfully imported into the Cayman Islands. Importers and their agents must therefore exercise the required due diligence to avoid the consequences of attempting to import a prohibited commodity,” he warned.

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