SOURCE: CMC — The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) says it is looking at “an integrated logistics transportation system” for the region which would focus on developing various aspects of infrastructure such as ports, roads, farms, storage, warehousing, and standards.
“What we are looking at (in terms of) regional travel is an integrated regional logistics system that not only provides for the movement of goods and services and people from one particular region to the next in a seamless, integrated, efficient way but equally the supporting elements to make this happen,” said CDB President Dr Gene Leon.
“I can indicate one of the things that we are committed to starting, again, coming out of this discussion, is to look at marine transportation, especially with regard to the movement of food along the lines of food security, such that wherever food is produced in the region, we have the means of transporting it, shipping to other places that our dependence on food from outside will be reduced over time,” Leon explained.
He said this is what is meant when the region talks about 25 per cent reduction in food imports by 2025 and that the matter had been discussed at the just concluded 52nd annual board of governments meeting of the CDB.
“So yes, it was discussed. But I want to assume, I don’t want to say I know for sure. I want to assume it was done in a different way, in a different context.”
Leon said the CDB intends to advance food and nutrition security, energy and water security as its “big initiatives for 2022” and beyond.
He told reporters, “It is quite clear that the idea of marine transportation is a project that is going to be undertaken.”
“But is it already a project that says I have before me a proposal with costing and exact procurement requirements that will dictate how much money I need to bring to the table. We are not yet there.
“The Georgetown Accord was only a couple weeks ago. And what we have is, as I said, it starts with a vision, a commitment to mobilise for a detailed map of transportation,” he added.
Leon said this is “now more or less a regional project and CDB’s commitment now is to try to mobilise finance to help move that project forward”.
“If there are road projects that we’re talking about now, it would obviously come from governments that in their national plans they see room and scope for road projects.
“Now, those will be related to the agricultural side, if it is in countries that need to, for example, improve feeder roads from farms to market or farms to port or farms to warehousing wherever it is, that can be an ancillary element of infrastructure”.
Continuing, the CDB president said there is equally the idea of potential for air traffic.