The Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA) has pledged US$10 000 to assist hurricane-ravaged Haiti.
Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Port Inc. David Jean-Marie, who was re-elected unopposed as CSA president last week at the association’s 46th Annual General Meeting, Conference and Exhibition, made the disclosure to delegates at the event held at the Hyatt Regency Port of Spain.
“Given the level of destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, there is a need for urgent humanitarian assistance in Haiti,” he said.
“The CSA General Council has always been committed to our regional partners. Therefore, in addition to the efforts made by individuals or through our companies, we are pledging to raise an initial US$10 000, and we invite our members and associates to contribute through the Secretariat.”
He assured that the CSA would utilize a reputable Caribbean charity to deliver the assistance on the ground.
During his address at the event which promotes increased collaboration among regional ports, Jean-Marie said recent developments have seen one of the most substantial restructurings of the global shipping industry in decades.
He explained sustained weaknesses in global trade growth, unrelenting and intense competition, a mismatch in supply and demand, and historically low freight rates have forced the industry to drastically cut costs and seek out operating efficiencies, including potentially disruptive mergers and acquisitions.
Jean-Marie said those bearing the most financial burden include a large portion of the CSA’s membership.
“Dramatic changes in the industry have meant we are now all operating under a philosophy of survival to adapt to this new maritime climate. Now is the time for rapid-fire transformation and evolution, both operationally and structurally, in order to realize new sustainable business growth in this environment,” he said.
Jean-Marie emphasized that firmer strategic partnerships between regional ports and the diversification of the shipping industry were key areas which would assist in combating the issues currently facing Caribbean shipping interests.
“We have no choice but to come together and transform to keep up with the current trends and create business opportunities for ourselves,” he told conference attendees.
Barbados has been selected to host the 47th CSA Annual General Meeting next year.
The CSA was established in 1971 to facilitate development of an efficient, viable Caribbean shipping industry and has now become the voice of the region’s shipping industry.