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  • Carnival Cruise Line has received approval from Cuba to begin sailings from Tampa to Havana in June this year with the ‘Carnival Paradise’. Last year it became the first US cruise company to sail to Cuba in over 40 years.

  • Carnival Cruise Line plans to build a US$ 200 cruise port complex in East Grand Bahama after an agreement was signed with the government late last year. The project is expected to take two years. There are fears it will adversely affect the existing cruise port, and its many operators, in Freeport.

  • Norwegian Cruise Line is extending its weekly round-trip cruises from Miami to Cuba through 2018. The ‘Norwegian Sky’ will sail the first of 33 four-day round-trip cruises out of Miami from March 2018.

  • Beginning in the 2017-2018 winter season, Voyages to Antiquity (VTA), an award-winning boutique cruise line, is launching its maiden season of small ship cruises to Cuba under the moniker VTACuba, using the 350 passenger ‘Aegean Odyssey’.

  • Saint Lucia is to welcome its first mega cruise vessel by December of this year, according to the Hon. Stephenson King, Minister for Infrastructure, Ports, Energy & Labor. The breasting dolphin berth at Pointe Seraphine, Castries, will be extended to allow the cruise ships to berth. Mr King emphasized the need to improve, develop and enhance the island’s cruise facilities and infrastructure.

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Vessel systems upgrade for Panama Canal

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) is introducing new systems to manage vessel scheduling and maritime resources in response to the growing levels of traffic through the expanded waterway. The state-of-the-art system is expected to take two years to fully install, with the first module to control scheduling due in place by the end of September this year. This will allow, for the first time, an integrated system to manage all resources such as tugs, pilots and line handlers, which in turn will improve operational efficiency and reduce waiting times. The technology will be provided by Quintiq, part of Dassault Systèmes, which specializes in delivering software to the maritime, transportation and logistics sectors.


CUBA – Mixed fortunes on closer ties

As US ports begin the process of reopening trade corridors to Cuba, there are mixed fortunes. The Alabama State Port Authority has signed a five-year cooperation agreement with the National Port Administration of Cuba to share and collaborate on market studies and promotion. In reporting the agreement, the US port said its goal was to foster relationships between the two ports. In Florida, however, the ports of Port Everglades and Palm Beach have cancelled plans to sign cooperation pacts after Florida’s governor threatened, via Twitter, to withdraw funding because the new US administration was seeking greater concessions from the Cuban government. The ports had planned to sign MoUs with Cuba to form a strong alliance with Cuban ports. In contrast, two Mississippi ports, Pascagoula and Gulfport, did sign trade agreements with Cuba shortly after the Florida announcements. It is expected that President Trump will try to renegotiate the treaty that his predecessor signed to end the 50-year trade embargo.


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