CEO of SeaFreight speaks at CCAA Miami Conference
MIAMI -- The Caribbean & Central American Action organization and the largest group of Caribbean ocean cargo carriers (Caribbean Ship Owners Association) have begun discussions to identify logistical problems at Caribbean ports and secure resources to help fix them. The issue of port performance was raised earlier this year by a World Bank report which ranked the performance at seven Caribbean ports among the lowest in the world. The World Bank suggested that host nations are losing 10 percent of their productivity because of the logistical weakness of the ports and logistics services where these sectors under-perform.
The Caribbean Ship Owners Association subsequently began tracking the performance of public and private terminals in the Caribbean Basin, according to Roland Malins-Smith, CEO of Seafreight Agencies USA, Inc. Malins-Smith reported some of the broader findings suggested that several ports using the most basic offloading techniques are relatively more productive than ports with mobile or gantry cranes. Malins-Smith said that some island ports don't seem to understand that “we are only as strong as our weakest link” in the chain of ports called by Caribbean services. “Often those responsible for ports in the government don't understand how poorly they do compared with ports in other similar nations,” Malins-Smith said. “We can help them understand their shortcomings and offer to help them make improvements.”
He advocated an action plan that was adopted by the roundtable. It recommends:
-- That the study conducted by the members of CSA should continue and the results be reported to the appropriate decisions-makers;
-- Creation of an ad hoc committee to conduct performance audits of cargo handling, customs and intermediaries at the Caribbean Basin ports;
-- Assistance of the CCAA to secure funding in Washington for consultancy from acknowledged specialists to help ports improve their services;
-- Sharing of expertise in fundamental techniques between ports;
-- Creation of a new alliance with CCAA and make it a clearinghouse for CSA activities related to ports to insulate the carrier members of the CSA in their dealings with the ports.