PORT ST. MAARTEN – More than 300 delegates including representatives from Port St. Maarten attended the Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA) 49th Annual General Meeting Conference & Exhibition (AGM) that recently took place in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The CSA is considered the voice of the Caribbean shipping industry.
The AGM was an opportunity to share expertise and ideas and to promote the latest developments and innovations from across the world of shipping.
CSA AGM brought together a specialist audience of shipping experts from academia, industry, government, and service providers of shipping and maritime products and services.
One of the top conference topics was digitalization and cybersecurity. Delegates explored how digitalization will define the future of the shipping industry; issues related to workforce transformation and the combination of new technical skills that will be required by maritime workers were touched upon.
Port St. Maarten plans to introduce its own Port Community System (PCS) next month that would enhance cargo handling for stakeholders and customers. The PCS involves data-sharing among stakeholders and third parties covering cargo and cruise operations at the country’s seaport of entry.
“The first phase of PCS will be launched, and St. Maarten is at the forefront of digitalization. At this year’s CSA AGM, we learnt that more advanced digitalization of the maritime industry is underway, and this reassures the port’s long-term strategic planning in digitization and more inclusive data center platforms is the way to go.
“Over the past months we had very productive sessions with various stakeholders who are all very excited to see PCS be launched in the coming month. We gave a live demo of the whole workflow for an arriving vessel and emphasized on the focus for each stakeholder. After the session the feedback was very positive that we received from cargo agents, Immigration, Customs, and Maritime Affairs.
“The port’s soon to come online PCS is also in line with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL) which allows the shipping process to move more quickly, more easily and more efficiently. According to the IMO, statistics show that countries with more efficient FAL infrastructure have better import and export figures. This again reassures us that we are heading in the right direction with PCS and making the right investment calls.
“Port St. Maarten’s Cargo Division is also looking to close the year with double digit growth on transshipments and similar numbers in local cargo movements. Next year we are expected to have above normal cargo activities with projected increases in the double digits for cruise and cargo,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Thursday.
PCS is an extension of Port St. Maarten’s Terminal Operating System that would further enhance the port’s operational excellence platform linking for example cargo/container manifest to an incoming/outgoing vessel to warehouse/storage handling and receiver pick-up.
During the CSA AGM, delegates were informed about sustainability seen as the future of the shipping industry. This was brought forward in the session, ‘Oceanic Awakening: Sustainability and Stewardship Actions’ and ‘Climate Change: Game Changer for Caribbean Ports.’ In addition to building more resilient infrastructure, this effort also calls for the bolstering of institutions, systems and regulations to adequately address vulnerabilities.
The 49th CSA AGM three-day took place from October 7-9. This year the host was the Asociacion de Navieros de la Republica Dominicana.
CSA was established in 1971 to facilitate development of an efficient, viable Caribbean shipping industry. Since then, the Association has become the voice of the region's shipping industry and a major regional forum in which matters relevant to the growth and development of Caribbean shipping are discussed.
The CSA represents its membership in relevant regional hemispheric groupings, associations and organizations - governmental, multilateral and private sector; and maintains Observer status with leading Caribbean multilateral bodies CARICOM and the Association of Caribbean States.
Caribbean Shipping Association represents private and public sector interests across the entire Caribbean area, including South, Central and North American ports; in all four major language groups - English, French, Spanish, and Dutch. The CSA uses English as its official language.
CSA membership includes 12 national shipping associations and over 100 individual member entities, including port authorities, terminal operators, shipping agents, shipping lines, tug and salvage companies, consultants, freight forwarders, leasing companies and others.