FLORIDA TODAY: Seaports, shippers and cruise lines are focusing on Cuba as the next big thing in their industries. And that was the focus of attention this week at the Caribbean Shipping Association's conference in Cocoa Beach.

As conference host, Port Canaveral also is focusing on something else: Show off the port's cargo and cruise operations for the conference's 180 attendees, with the ultimate goal of boosting business. Representatives of about 25 countries were represented at the conference, and more than 100 attendees toured Port Canaveral cruise and cargo facilities on Tuesday.

The start of cruise service this month from Miami to Cuba by a unit of Carnival Corp. presents both opportunities and obstacles for the traditional Caribbean cruise business, speakers said at the conference Wednesday. Caribbean cruises are the focus of Port Canaveral and other east Florida cruise ports.

JOC.COM Report: Cuba’s Mariel container terminal has already planned its transformation into a major transshipment hub after the U.S. trade embargo ends, according to TC Mariel General Director Charles Baker.

In an address to the Caribbean Shipping Association Executives’ Conference held near Port Canaveral, Florida, Baker described surging growth at TC Mariel, its short- and long-term expansion plans and strategy to diversify beyond domestic cargo into transshipment.

The PSA International-operated terminal opened in January of 2014. Throughput at Mariel grew 35 percent in 2015, reaching 330,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units, and is up 29 percent year-to-date this year as a result of Cuba’s “booming” tourism trade, Baker said.

JOC.COM: Florida’s Port Everglades says scales are available at several locations on its waterfront to help shippers handle the new international container weight requirements that go into effect in less than two months, but not at every terminal, and pricing will vary.

Effective July 1, all containers must be accompanied by a certified verified gross mass, or VGM, declaration prior to stowage or they will be barred from loading under the new International Maritime Organization SOLAS regulation. The looming summer deadline has left many shippers wondering where and how they will be able to obtain certified VGMs.

MARINELINK.COM: Representatives from all aspects of the maritime shipping industry met in Cocoa Beach, Fla., May 16-18 for the Caribbean Shipping Associations’ (CSA) Shipping Executives Conference.

Attendees include shippers, ship owners, port authorities and terminal operators, and non-vessel owners, such as brokers.

A major theme of the conference was the close relationship between Florida ports and the Caribbean markets.

“Florida ports have had a long relationship of trade with the Caribbean nations, and are proud to count them as some of our most valuable partners,” said Doug Wheeler, president and CEO of the Florida Ports Council.

JOC.COM Report: Latin America and Caribbean terminal operators will face different national rules regarding the SOLAS container weight verification rule, adding another layer of difficulty to an already tricky process, according to speakers at the Caribbean Shipping Association Executives’ Conference near Port Canaveral, Florida.

shipping containers 38The International Maritime Organization’s rule that all containers be accompanied with a verified gross mass before they are loaded onto a ship takes effect July 1 and unease is growing that the rule will impact container line operations and cause delays worldwide.

The Caribbean and Latin America will offer a unique perspective on how implementing the VGM measure will work because the relatively small region is loaded with bureaucracy-heavy governments — including several small, economically challenged, import-dependent nations with only one port — and regional shipping businesses that cross more than one border.


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