Being staged within weeks of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season, the Caribbean Shipping Executives’ Conference (CSEC) got underway at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina this morning with a strong focus on disaster resilience and world trade. In his opening address, David Jean-Marie, President of the Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA), noted that Day 3 of the Conference, being staged from May 14-16, is dedicated to a disaster awareness workshop for the over 200 participants to learn from past experiences and help prepare for the future.

The CSA president thanked members of the association for their support for the region’s recovery efforts after the disastrous hurricanes of 2017. Approximately US$100,000 has been donated by members to several important causes. The conference’s Disaster Awareness Workshop will include panelists from the Organization of American States and the US Coast Guard.

Turning to world trade, the CSA president told participants that the impacts of tariffs and the threat of “trade wars” will be discussed in their meetings, along with Maersk and IBM’s game-changing commercialization of block-chain technology.

Jean-Marie also revealed that a workshop exploring the important issue of gender equality is planned for the CSA’s Annual General Meeting in Panama this year. He said that this issue will be discussed within the context of Caribbean cultures, and in close collaboration with the Women in Maritime Association, Caribbean, with the aim of developing policies to govern the actions and behaviors of all industry participants. The CSA president stated, “We will be pro-active in ending sexual harassment and in promoting and nurturing a culture of gender equality in our maritime industry.”

The president also called on governments in the Caribbean to ratify maritime conventions such as MARPOL, the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, and the SOLAS (International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea) which is generally regarded as the most important of all international treaties concerning the safety of merchant ships.

A highlight of the opening ceremony was the presentation of a citation to Cephas “Oxley” Quammie, a stalwart of Caribbean shipping, who gave over 40 years of sterling service to the development of regional shipping. Participants at the opening ceremony also paused for a moment of silence in tribute to the life of the late Hon. Noel Hylton who was instrumental in the formation of the CSA.

Caribbean-US Ports Collaboration

Participants in CSEC 2018 were welcomed to Fort Lauderdale by Dale Holness, Commissioner, Broward County, Florida who revealed that Port Everglades is the leading container port in Florida and tenth largest in the United States with its proximity to the Caribbean being the key component to this success.

The Broward County Commissioner stated that nearly a quarter of the containerized cargo that moves through Port Everglades is destined for or from the Caribbean and that this port does more cargo business with the Caribbean than any other seaport on the eastern Atlantic.

About the CSA Conference

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.

David Jean-Marie, President of the Caribbean Shipping Association