>PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten Management attended the Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA) 48th Annual General Meeting Conference & Exhibition (AGM). The CSA is considered the voice of the Caribbean shipping industry.
The AGM was an opportunity to share expertise and ideas and to promote the latest developments and innovations from across the world of shipping.
Port St. Maarten Management officials said on Monday that one of the main topics of discussion at the conference was the continued influence on digitalization of Ports to better adapt and for true efficient cargo handling. This is in line with Port St. Maarten’s Port Community System (PCS).
The PCS involves data-sharing among stakeholders and third parties covering cargo and cruise operations at the country’s sea-port of entry.
PCS is an extension of Port St. Maarten’s Terminal Operating System that would further enhance the port’s operational excellence platform linking for example cargo/container manifest to an incoming/outgoing vessel to warehouse/storage handling and receiver pick-up.
“Port St. Maarten continues to be a positive topic as it relates to transshipment cargo within the region. We are continuing being looked at as the premier hub. Expectations are that we will close the year with a about 20% increase in transshipment volume.
“Local imports continue to show very positive vital signs as the economy continues to recover and we expect that this recovery will move at a faster pace in 2019 and 2020. We have already experienced a whopping 26% positive increase for the year 2018 versus last year.
“The positive increases that we have been experiencing in business could not have happened if the Port and stakeholders post Irma didn’t take swift action to ensure Port St. Maarten regained its competitive edge. This was realized via key investments within port infrastructure and equipment being made.
“Port St. Maarten current operational percentage is 96% with a continued steady pace of repairs, it is expected to reach full operational percentage within short,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Tuesday.
The 48th CSA AGM took place in Panama from October 8-10. This year the host was Manzanillo International Terminal (MIT). Conference delegates spent a day traveling the world-famous canal to their facility.
CSA AGM brought together a specialist audience of shipping experts from academia, industry, government, and service providers of shipping and maritime products and services.
Another key topic discussed at the conference was 4IR, or the fourth industrial revolution, which emphasized on the importance of ports focusing on technology to enhance their business operations.
At the opening ceremony of the conference, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Caribbean Maritime University and the International Maritime University of Panama was signed. The partnership emerged from discussions held during the First Meeting of the Jamaica/Panama Joint Commission for Cooperation, which was first convened in June 2018.
This MOU relationship would allow for advanced training, the further development and exploration of environmentally friendly practices, digitalization of maritime shipping and institutional cooperation for capacity building.
CSA was established in 1971 to facilitate development of an efficient, viable Caribbean shipping industry. Since then, the Association has become the voice of the region’s shipping industry and a major regional forum in which matters relevant to the growth and development of Caribbean shipping are discussed.
The CSA represents its membership in relevant regional hemispheric groupings, associations and organizations – governmental, multilateral and private sector; and maintains Observer status with leading Caribbean multilateral bodies CARICOM and the Association of Caribbean States.
Caribbean Shipping Association represents private and public sector interests across the entire Caribbean area, including South, Central and North American ports; in all four major language groups – English, French, Spanish, and Dutch. The CSA uses English as its official language.
CSA membership includes 12 national shipping associations and over 100 individual member entities, including port authorities, terminal operators, shipping agents, shipping lines, tug and salvage companies, consultants, freight forwarders, leasing companies and others.