The island’s main seaport is reporting significant growth in business for 2016, and is predicting even better days ahead.
Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Port Inc David Jean-Marie told Barbados TODAY the port last year recorded double digit growth in both local and new transshipment cargo, as well as a rise in cruise passenger arrivals.
“We had for the calendar year at least 15 per cent growth in the cargo tonnage and more than two per cent growth in cruise passengers for the full year, compared to last year ,” Jean-Marie said.
He said one of the most outstanding areas of success was in transshipment, while home-porting was also on the rise.
“We did a lot more transshipment business. We are working on transshipment business because Barbados is a destination port and the cargo that come here is for consumption and the other way to grow revenue is via transshipment; and we did reasonably well there.
“We have [also] done a lot more home-porting than in previous years,” he said.
The port executive could not say how many large cruise liners berthed here in 2016, preferring instead to provide general data.
“We don’t have numbers by big ships; I can tell you that we had like eight per cent more ships than we had last year .”
Having experienced an outstanding 2016, the port boss is forecasting even more growth this year, with an eye on freight for major projects.
“We expect business to continue to grow. We have to get project cargo. We know that Sandals is improving and that should bring in business for the rest of the year; and we expect to have a few other projects started . . . Sam Lord’s [Castle] and a few others. So we expect growth at the port . . . fairly significant,” Jean-Marie stressed.
Regarding the suspended multi-million-dollar Sugar Point Cruise Passenger Terminal, he told Barbados TODAY he expected work to begin in the coming year.
He was also happy with the industrial relations climate in the past year, noting that the port was working on doing better for 2017.
The Bridgetown Port is the major port of entry for approximately 90 per cent of the goods used in the manufacturing and retail sectors in Barbados.
A major part of its responsibility has been dedicated to supporting businesses in the import/export trade, a function it carries out without any Government subsidies,
Since its opening in 1961, the Bridgetown Port has generated its own revenue to fund operations, and paid all normal statutory obligations. All cruise vessels berth at the Bridgetown Port and it is currently the major home-port of the Southern Caribbean, conducting full and partial exchanges of passengers.