In the wake of President Obama’s historic visit, there has been a tangible upsurge in goodwill for Cuba across the region. For us in the Caribbean shipping and logistics industry, it has been another signal that, even though the Cuban economy presents challenges and competition for tourism, trade and investment for the rest of the region, it also represents a wellspring of opportunities.
The United States authorities have removed Cuba from a list of countries deemed to have insufficient security in their ports, eliminating a major impediment to the free flow of shipping in the Florida Straits. The US Coast Guard, in an advisory on global port security just before the recent historic visit by the US President, said Cuba now has effective security measures in its ports. That certification also removes the requirement that US vessels maintain a higher level of security for access to ships while in Cuban ports. The shift clears the way for US cruise ships, cargo vessels and even ferries to travel back and forth with much less hassle. No longer will all ships have to wait to be boarded by the US Coast Guard for inspections, though the Coast Guard still can conduct random inspections.