As the prospect of an 'embargo free' Cuba draws closer to becoming a reality, the Spanish-speaking Caribbean nation is increasingly focusing its resources on rebuilding its maritime sector to become a force to be reckoned with in the region.
Photo: From left: Aníbal Ochoa, vice-president – Cartagena port operator Sociedad Portuaria Regional de Cartagena (SPRC), and Pedro Suárez Reyes, chair, ACS Special Committee on Transport and part of Cuba’s International Relations Department, listen attentively as an interpreter poses a question from a delegate at the CSA conference.
Speaking at the recently concluded 45th AGM, Conference, and Exhibition of the Caribbean Shipping Association, guest presenter Pedro Suarez Reyes, chair of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) Special Committee on transport and of the International relations department of the Cuban ministry of transport, announced to delegates that Cuba is focused on a "transformation of its port sector. It is currently pursuing an aggressive plan to rebuild and expand its shipping and port sectors, even before the US embargo is lifted," he told them.
"We have started the recovery of our fleet, our ports, and our logistics chain," said Suarez in front of a packed conference room on day two of the conference held in Cartagena, Colombia, from October 19-21.
“Due to its undeniable geostrategic importance, our Caribbean region is an endless source of opportunities for all of us, given the needs of global connectivity. This means we must complement each other, work together, establish links and share a common horizon.”
With these words, Captain Rudolfo Salas, General Manager of Sociedad Portuaria Regional Cartagena (SPRC) or Port of Cartagena, officially opened the Caribbean Shipping Association’s 45th AGM, Conference & Exhibition in the beautiful Colombian City on Monday October 19, 2015.
Photo: The packed conference hall at the CSA's 45th AGM, Conference & Exhibition
This proved a central theme for the conference which wrapped on Wednesday, October 21, 2015. Many of the over 300 participants representing companies with shipping and logistics interests in the Caribbean, including those from Latin and North America, Canada and as far as Sweden agreed that although they are competing with each other, teamwork and strategic alliances provide more benefits and better opportunities for the region.