The impact of new technologies, critical developments in world trade and innovative methods of cooperation are major items of discussion by shipping industry professionals of the Caribbean Shipping Executives Conference (CSEC) now underway at the Hilton Ft. Lauderdale Marina in Florida, USA. The conference is being presented by the Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA) from May 14-16, 2018 to provide a valuable forum for participants to gather useful and current information on various aspects of shipping.
The Maersk/IBM Blockchain Initiative was the first topic under discussion by the more than 200 participants in the Conference. Gordon Foote, Business Development Executive, IBM, predicted that “what the internet did for communication, Blockchain will do for trusted transactions”. He said that the Blockchain Initiative provides a more transparent, secure way to conduct business through networks of trusted data. Shipping industry executives are welcoming this new technology which intends to assist shippers, ports, customs offices, banks and other stakeholders in global supply chains to track freight more efficiently and replace costly, time-consuming paperwork with tamper-resistant digital records.
Conference participants also received useful information on Ports and The International Trade Outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean from Ricardo Sanchez, Principal Economist, Ports & Infrastructure, UN – ECLAC. Sanchez noted that the positive growth projected for the Caribbean by the IMF is a major indicator of the potential for growth in regional shipping as “consuming power leads to shipping demand”.
Sanchez pointed out that, since the first major maritime alliance of 1995, there has been a continuous process of mergers, acquisitions and alliances by shipping lines accompanied by accelerated growth in vessel size. He said that these developments are placing great pressure on infrastructure as ports seek to win market share. In this regard, he cautioned against over-investment in port infrastructure as only the primary hubs were experiencing significant growth. He re-iterated that “cargo follows consumption, not infrastructure”.
The topic entitled, Raising Standards in the Shipping Agency World, was of particular interest to shipping agents attending the conference as Albert Hoek, Executive Director, Multiport Ship Agency Network spoke on his organization’s role in promoting cooperation between its member ship agents. He revealed that the benefits offered to member agents of the Multiport Network included sharing business intelligence and introductions to potential shipping companies.
David Jean-Marie, president of CSA, describes this 17th staging of the CSEC as “a resounding success. The topics and presentations are of great relevance to regional shipping interests and participants are expressing their appreciation for the usefulness of the information being shared”.
The Caribbean Shipping Executives’ Conference is the first of two conferences hosted by the CSA annually. The CSA is the voice of the Caribbean shipping industry and was established in 1971 to facilitate the development of an efficient, viable Caribbean Shipping Industry. Conferences hosted by the CSA provide a forum in which matters relevant to the growth and development of Caribbean shipping are discussed.