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President's Message

Regional cooperation and collaboration vital at this time in our history

I had the opportunity to travel to St. Kitts and Nevis in June to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Port Management Association of the Caribbean (PMAC), as reported in this issue of Caribbean Maritime.

The signing of this Memorandum paves the way for both organisations, the CSA and PMAC, to work together in a number of areas. This is important for various reasons; but, more than this, it builds another bridge for regional cooperation and collaboration between regional organisations.

It is important that we pool our energies, wisdom, experiences, skills and resources in the search for solutions to those problems, which hamper development of the regional shipping industry. It is vital that we review and, where necessary, modify and expand strategies to exploit the many opportunities which abound. History demands that we support each other in combating problems and clearing the hurdles we face individually and collectively. We cannot allow insularity, sluggish bureaucracies, or anything else for that matter, to undermine and frustrate the process of growth and development.

Progress

At this time in our history, the Caribbean is experiencing an unprecedented level of cargo movement by sea. The most heavily served trade lanes out of Florida are those heading south. New trade routes are being charted to or through the Caribbean. Expanded trade arrangements are being planned or negotiated. Logistics hubs are being promoted and ports are expanding and preparing for bigger ships and increased volumes of cargo. We are witnessing progress as the world changes at an accelerated pace. 

The volume of ship traffic to and through the Caribbean is at an all-time high and our ports and terminals are now contemplating even further expansion and development. 

The opening of an expanded Panama Canal in the near future is expected to further increase volumes and place even greater demands on our ports and maritime infrastructure.

How shall we respond? As I said to the port managers, the old adage ‘unity is strength’ provides for us a formula. If we pull together we can successfully address and overcome most of the inherent problems associated with increased traffic; rapid and sustained expansion of cargo volumes; and increases in vessel size and draught.

Let us unite, collaborate, exchange dialogue and pull together to exploit the opportunities which are increasingly becoming evident. 

Grantley-STEPHENSONGrantley Stephenson
President, Caribbean Shipping Association

 

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