Governments must provide modern, efficient seaports

– Regional Shipping Association VP

A senior regional maritime official has placed the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of Caribbean Community (Caricom) governments to ensure that seaports in the region are equipped to enable their respective countries to participate actively and effectively in international trade.

“Governments in Caricom must provide the enabling facilities and create the standards for sustainability of their economies,” Vice President of the Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA) and Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Port Authority David Jean-Marie told the Shipping Association of Guyana’s Awards Ceremony and Dinner in Georgetown on May 2.

“No small or medium-sized destination could adequately service the multifaceted needs of customers without the support of government. It cannot remain business as usual. Governments must be involved and sensitive to the country’s maritime developmental needs,” Jean-Marie said.

Asserting that a port is the gateway through which a country is fed and earns its foreign exchange, Jean-Marie declared that “when we understand the changing dynamics of importing, exporting and manufacturing, our Caricom governments would better appreciate the important nexus between maritime requirements and sustainable economies.”

The comments by the regional maritime official came against the backdrop of protracted exchanges between government and local shipping industry officials over the rehabilitation of Port Georgetown.

“The maritime industry across the Caribbean is due for a shake-up and much needed re-examination if we are to fulfil the needs of global shipping lines and cargo owners,” Jean-Marie told the gathering, pointing out that the shallow draughts of seaports in the region coupled with comparatively small populations that both consume and export smaller volumes of cargo, meant that ports in the region had to “strive for greater efficiency and higher standards in order to be counted in the port performance continuum.”

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