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President's Message

Missions waiting to be accomplished in 2014

Allow me, on behalf of the General Council of the Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA), to offer you best wishes and hopes for success in 2014. Having completed my first year as President and entering a second term, I also extend my personal thanks to the members of the CSA, our stakeholders and readers of Caribbean Maritime for your support and confidence. I look forward to working with you in the ensuing year toward the growth and development of our regional shipping industry.

The year 2014 promises to be a dynamic and significant period in shipping, seasoned with opportunities and challenges for which decision-makers must craft careful and tactical strategies. The completion of the widening of the Panama Canal is the basis of numerous national plans for more dynamic hub and relay port operations. The Caribbean and Latin American shipping community should, by now, have its facilities at an advanced state of readiness or have completed its activities in preparation for the changes which are literally around the corner.

Security improvements

Amid these important structural and operational changes, there are some other critical areas which must be given more than a mere peripheral view. The contamination of cargo in our waters with forms of contraband ranging from counterfeit consumer goods to illegal drugs and weapons should give us grave concern, as this discredits our own security efforts and devalues the region’s profile against that of our competitors.

Through the work of its Security Advisory Council, the CSA will take a significantly more active role in 2014 in assisting ports and terminal operators in the region with its efforts at improving security. Solid partnerships have been forged with governments both regionally and inter-regionally and, with this in mind, I am confident that together we can cripple the efforts of those who continue to threaten our competitiveness through the scourge of crime.

Cruise

The attractiveness of the Caribbean’s cruise tourism product is also coming into sharp focus, with plans announced by non-traditional players such as Abu Dhabi, Oman and Dubai to collaborate in building cruise terminals and in promoting their region as a cruise destination. So, too, must we in the Caribbean collaborate to solidify our position, not only in global cruise rankings but also in developing our ports and leveraging our natural and geographical attributes to compete with the appeal of places such as the United Arab Emirates.

The CSA will continue to engage with organisations that are focused on developing the cruise industry, recognising the vast potential it presents for economic development.

Succession planning

The maritime sector is becoming increasingly sophisticated and should have with it the concomitant development of new talent and leadership. Our approach to training should therefore be deliberate and systematic to ensure leadership continuity, as well as the
retention and development of intellectual and knowledge capital for the future. We cannot afford to take a chance approach to succession planning.

I encourage you to see resources dedicated to training as an investment in your own future and that of the industry, as you prepare your teams to become positive resources and informed decision-makers affecting the region.

National associations

The CSA recognises that at the core of its responsibilities is its mission to support the development of members and be a leading voice in the lobby for improvements in the legal, competitive and operational framework in which we operate. Much of this work must be mobilised at local levels and therefore the existence of vibrant and credible national associations becomes paramount.

On this basis, we will increase our efforts to establish local affiliate bodies of the CSA and partner with them to foster the growth of their voices in the region. We will also continue to leverage the strength of existing vibrant national associations toward the development of others with the recognition that successes at local levels redound to the success of the region as a whole.

There is much work to be done. Let us make 2014 a year of missions accomplished. I look forward to seeing you in May at the CSA’s Caribbean Shipping Executives’ Conference in Miami.

 

Grantley-STEPHENSONGrantley Stephenson
President, Caribbean Shipping Association

 

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