Over 320 delegates from English, Spanish, French and Dutch Caribbean territories, as well as from several countries in Europe and North, South and Latin America were at hand for the 40th Annual General Meeting, Conference and Exhibition of the Caribbean Shipping Association, which took place in Montego Bay recently. The CSA represents both public and private sector maritime interests across the Caribbean and Latin American region, and is comprised of Shipping Agents, Private Stevedore Contractors, Wharf Owners and Operators, Ship Owners and other related shipping interests.
Minister of Transport and Works, Mike Henry, opened the conference, which saw presenters addressing issues such as Global Economic and trade Outlook for the Caribbean; Update on the Panama Canal Expansion; Global Supply Chain; Maritime Transportation and the Caribbean Transshipment Market.
Minister Henry in his opening address, challenged the CSA to maintain its vigour and determination to ensure that the region remains competitive on the global sphere.
“As one of the main policymakers in the maritime sector in Jamaica, my record of intense support for the growth and development of the industry qualifies me, I believe, to challenge the CSA to bring no less intensity to the broader regional picture. I am more than just exuberant about the potential of both our maritime and aviation sectors to help us navigate our way out of much of the economic challenges that now beset us. Just like how there is a natural lure of tourists to the region, so too is our highly favourable geographical position on the global stage, in respect of both maritime and aeronautical transportation. No wonder the cruise sector loves us so much, because in reality they get two bites of the cherry in the Caribbean and Latin American region.”
Similarly, with the ongoing expansion of the Panama Canal, shipping interests in the region are in for very exciting times ahead, depending on how well Jamaica takes advantage of the opportunities to come. Minister Henry said that despite the restrictions placed on travel and the resulting effects on the Caribbean and Latin American region, especially since the events of September 11 in the United States that Jamaica, because of its favourable geographic location, is still poised to benefit from advances and expansions within the aeronautical industry.
“This is where my now well-known Multi-Modal Transportation Plan for Jamaica comes to the fore in respect of the rest of the region, as it is not difficult to understand that aviation and maritime transportation are really just options in terms of transportation modes. Both are intrinsically connected and the sooner we all appreciate that fact, is the sooner we will bring the necessary level of combined focus to foster the aligned development of these two sectors that offer so much promise for the both the economic life and people of the Caribbean and Latin America.”
Master Captain of the ZIM Antwerp, Eeulkar Shalom (2nd right) listens keenly to Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Michael Henry (right), as he makes a point following a tour of the ZIM Antwerp at the Kingston Container Terminal, Port Bustamante. Looking on are President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Port Authority of Jamaica, Noel Hylton (left) and Chief Engineer of the ZIM Antwerp, Henri Bazak (second left).
In August of this year, the Ministry of Transport and Works officially welcomed the ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Limited's mega-vessel, ZIM Antwerp, on its third trip to Jamaica. The vessel, one of the largest container ships globally, docked at the Kingston Container Terminal's Western Berth at Port Bustamante, which was built to accommodate such mega-liners. The vessel had made its maiden voyage to Kingston back in February 2010, and returned in April, as very few ports in this part of the world, including along the US eastern seaboard, can accommodate the ZIM Antwerp. Additionally, the expansion and upgrading of the Port of Kingston over time, is intended to position Jamaica favourably for both the challenges and opportunities of the future.