>PORT ST. MAARTEN – On November 15th, there were five cruise ships in port with approximately 15,000 passengers and crew. On this day a cruise ship was provisioned with dry and frozen goods, and the operations were carried out in an efficient manner showcasing the port’s ability to adapt based on varied arrival times and still deliver quality service and maintain operational excellence.
Cruise ships carrying 3000-5000+ guests and crew consume large amounts of food everyday over a seven-day cruise.
Port St. Maarten Management has developed a strategy to increase volume related to cruise ship provisioning with the objective of becoming the lead cruise ship provisioning sea-port in the near future.
“We had a successful operation and it is an area that can be developed. There is a small window for loading provisions when a cruise ship is in port. On this particular day we had five ships with thousands of passengers and crew moving along the cruise piers towards the taxis, tour busses and water taxis to explore the ‘Friendly Island’.
“Due to good planning, organization and professionalism by all concerned, we were able to accomplish this. Provisioning is also an essential part of customer service when we look at the cruise lines.
“Due to our strategic location as a port in the north-eastern Caribbean, cruise vessels that depart Florida to the Caribbean on a seven-day cruise will need to provision some of their food supplies prior to returning to Miami or Port Everglades at the end of their trip.
“St. Maarten’s international appeal as a cruise destination, along with business services offered in the maritime logistical sector and in the food supply area, we stand to gain from cruise ship provisioning. This would further enhance the port’s operational excellence platform bolstering more business which is key to future growth,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Sunday.
Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Stuart Johnson: “Cruise ship provisioning would be an additional economic spin off for the local economy. Our wholesale food suppliers will benefit as well as our stevedoring trucking stakeholders. It would also mean additional foreign exchange for the national economy.
“A cruise ship has thousands of passengers and crew onboard to feed during a cruise of seven to 10-days, at least three meals a day. Onboard you find restaurants, buffets, room service, bars and much more. Cruise ship provisioning for St. Maarten is a plus and I commend the efforts and approach by Port St. Maarten where this is concerned.”
George Pelgrim, President and Chief Executive Officer of Intermar Group of Companies said cruise lines that start to use Port St. Maarten, “…more effectively as a vessel provisioning destination, clearly cements and demonstrates their growing confidence in the logistic capabilities of all the local stakeholders involved.
“Such confidence obviously will translate into additional TEU imports into our port. Our group, together with Tropical Shipping is proud to play a role in this strategic new development,” Pelgrim concludes.