Members, Colleagues and Partners,
As we all celebrate the start of a new year filled with possibility, I want to take the opportunity to say thank you for your consistent support of the Caribbean Shipping Association and its programmes and projects last year. We truly feel blessed to have so much goodwill and commitment from across the Region and indeed the globe to put wind in our sails so we can meet our many challenges in 2017.
Thanks especially for the outpouring of support for our donations to the citizens of Haiti who were tragically impacted by Hurricane Matthew. We raised a significant sum which we know will go a far way in the relief efforts.
The year just ended was a tumultuous one, marked by significant changes in the sector that have impacted how we operate and have forced us to be very agile for sheer survival and to ensure the continuous improvement in our operations. We have had strategise and re-strategise to withstand the impact of the acquisitions, mergers, & bankruptcies which transformed the world’s marine cargo sector and sent our hemisphere into a tailspin.
For us in the CSA, 2017 brings its own unique mix of challenges, as aside from the economic stressors, we will be contending with external regulator changes. This year will require compliance with new regulations in much the same way the industry grappled with the Verified Gross Mass Regulations of the International Maritime Organisation last year. The Ballast Water Management Convention now stands on the cusp of ratification on September 8 this year, and at a yet to be determined cost to operators. It will be instructive to see how shipping deals with the issue, and how prepared we are.
Despite the challenges currently facing the industry; toward the end of 2016 there were signs of optimism. Confidence levels among shipping industry stakeholders surveyed worldwide were trending at their highest levels for the year, which says much for the resilience of the shipping industry. It illustrates the simple truth, that other methods of transportation are not a viable alternative to shipping, and that innovative operators will always find a way to succeed and survive.
As such, I am excited about the New Year, and the prospect of our Association reaping the benefits of our contributions, particularly in the area of training of our workforce. As is customary, we have a robust training roster for 2017 and we urge your participation. We again say thanks to our training partners and our membership for sponsorship support of these courses as we prepare our people to seize new opportunities for growth and expansion and further cement our place in the development of regional shipping.
Cheers to a prosperous 2017!
David Jean Marie
President - Caribbean Shipping Association