Chairman of the Shipping Association of Guyana (SAG), Desmond Sears, will represent Guyana at the Caribbean Shipping Association’s (CSA) 13th Caribbean Shipping Executives Conference (CSEC) scheduled for 12 to 14 May 2014 at the Miami Marriott, Biscayne Bay, Florida.
The three-day conference this year, SAG says, is designed to offer participants deeper insights into the latest shipping industry trends along with information on recent developments in the globe which are likely to affect maritime operations in this hemisphere.
The Panama Canal expansion project is expected to come under the spotlight. This expansion project, also called the ‘Third Set of Locks Project’, is intended to double the capacity of the 50-mile long canal by 2015 by creating a new lane and allowing more and larger ships to transit. The Panama Canal links the Pacific with the Atlantic Ocean.
The project, SAG said yesterday, was originally scheduled for completion in 2014 but was disrupted twice, first over a dispute involving some US$1.6B in cost overruns, then because of a workers strike for increased wages.
These issues and the impact of the work delays on those Caribbean countries with deep water ports which are able to berth the mega vessels that are now plying the world’s seas and oceans, could take center stage at the conference.
Guyana is currently receiving its bulk, break bulk and containerized cargo from small feeder vessels that transship from Jamaica for lack of a deep water port here.
For many years, the Shipping Association, terminal operators in the Demerara Port and the local community of importers and exporters have been advocating for the dredging of the Demerara Navigational Channel to remove over three meters of hardened silt that prevents large cargo vessels as well as cruise ships from coming to Guyana. The adverse effects on the business community and the end users of all imported products could not be overstated.
According to the association, a public/private sector working group was established in 2012 to source funding and facilities for the complete modernization of the Demerara Harbour with new navigational aids, security accessories and the acquisition of a fire boat. This issue is likely to be discussed at the CSEC in May.
Also on the agenda are panel discussions on the new marine gas, the impact of the United States Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA), and Maritime Domain awareness, and Guyana stands to benefit significantly from the proposals for advanced level maritime training for member countries of the CSA.
Shipping industry executives and key decision makers from Europe and North America, the Caribbean and Latin America are expected to attend and establish connections with Terminal and Port Operators, owners of Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs), Freight Forwarders, Shippers and Shipping Association administrators.
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