Efforts are under way to position the Port of Bridgetown as a hub for transshipment through the Caribbean.
Once agreements are established, it would open the door for new market penetration that would allow Barbados to move new trade lanes with Africa and South America, with the Port of Bridgetown becoming the transshipment hub through the Caribbean.
Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, made this disclosure as he addressed the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Port of Bridgetown, recently.
“So, Government…has already signed a sister Port agreement with the Port of Bridgetown and the Port of Tema, Ghana, and is concluding another agreement with the Port of Mombasa in Kenya,” he said.
The Minister noted that when Barbados positioned itself as a hub for “all things Caribbean”, job opportunities and economic opportunities would be generated for the island.
These agreements with the ports are expected to foster technological developments through information and expertise sharing; the sharing of information on best practices and developments in the global maritime industry; collaboration on matters related to environmental protection and green port initiatives, and the exchange of information on business opportunities to raise awareness among the private sectors in both regions.
They will also help with the development of opportunities for personnel training and apprenticeship, and the promotion of services for ports as efficient and sustainable pathways for trade.
“We will also facilitate the achievement of the objectives of the respective ports … to support increased trade. And, we are going to finally support the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between the country’s private sectors and the Barbados Chamber of Commerce,” Mr. Humphrey outlined.
He added that Barbados Port Inc. proposed to engage private sector partners in the shipping industry who had a vested interest in the cost and time efficient movement of cargo, expansion of cargo opportunities and a willingness to pursue and expand market share in regional markets.
Meanwhile, a number of projects are also on the cards for the Port of Bridgetown as it seeks to boost its efficiency and meet new market demands.
They are: the enhancement of the cruise facilities; the expansion of the Shallow Draft Marina for yachts and pleasure craft; the establishment of a boat repair facility; the commercialisation of the South and East Point Lighthouses; the repair of the Speightstown jetty; the development of bulk handling capacities; the generation of 100 per cent of power needs through an expansion of the photovoltaic system; waste-to-energy incineration facilities; the development of shore power to vessels using a surplus of green energy; the development of a port community system and the imminent launch of a maritime single window.
“The infrastructure work to be undertaken will support the national investment plans which are reliant on expanded and efficient port facilities.
“The Port of Bridgetown must therefore ensure it can competitively offer the required supporting facilities, equipment and human resources, if it is to position as a conduit to national, economic growth ambitions,” Mr. Humphrey said.