cepal ranking puertos eng-01-768x994The movement of cargo in containers in Latin American and Caribbean ports grew 1.7% during 2015, according to figures unveiled in ECLAC’s new edition of its ranking of container port throughput, published in its Maritime Profile. These figures confirm two trends observed during the last years in the region: the slowdown of foreign trade shown by container terminals and great heterogeneity of the growth rates inside the region.

Regional average of 1.7% container throughput growth, although still higher than the rate recorded in 2014 (0.8%) and 2013 (0.7%), the recovery from this severe downturn remains (figures from 2012 were 5.9%). The slow dynamism of 2015 was determined mainly by the fall in the port activity of five countries: Brazil, Peru, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela. The total volume of activity in 2015 was approximately 48 million TEU. The first 40 ports in the ranking accounted for nearly 90% of the operations this type of cargo in the region, while another 98 smaller ports divided up the remaining 5.9 million TEU (equivalent to 10%) among themselves.

Do you export your goods in an ocean-going cargo container? If so, are you ready for the amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) that go into effect July 1? The amendments require shippers of packed cargo containers (regardless of who packed it) to ensure that the container's verified gross mass (VGM) is stated in the shipping document. How can you prevent your containers from being left on the docks under these new rules?

These were some of the critical issues addressed at a recent meeting held for members of the Jamaica Exporters Association (JEA) and facilitated by the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ) and the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ).

At that meeting, the MAJ presented the latest developments impacting the country's exporters. The authority, which is leading the implementation of the SOLAS amendments in Jamaica, advised that it has drafted guidelines to assist the industry's compliance. These guidelines will be shared with the SAJ for comments before being circulated to the various stakeholders.

In the interim, members of the MAJ and SAJ in attendance strongly urged the exporters/shippers to work with their partners in the supply chain to ensure their containerised exports meet the new requirements by the implementation deadline.

RMS1Roland Malins-Smith, founder of the Seafreight Group of Companies, is described by his peers as a quiet force whose soft-spoken nature belies the power of his brilliant mind and the magnitude of his contributions to the shipping industry in the Caribbean.

This visionary figure in the hemisphere’s maritime sector was honoured by his colleagues in the Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA) last month at its Caribbean Shipping Executives Conference (CSEC) held in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Photo: (L-R) Roland Malins-Smith, stalwart of the CSA and the caribbean shipping industry, accepts a token from CSA President, David Jean Marie during the opening ceremony at CSA-CSEC 2016 in which he was recently honoured. 

In a moving tribute read during the conference opening ceremony, CSA President, David Jean Marie, spoke of Malins-Smith lifelong contribution to shipping in the region, beginning with his early years as a research assistant in the regional transportation unit with the Caribbean Free Trade Area (CARIFTA) Secretariat in September 1970. Malins-Smith was promoted to senior economist responsible for transportation within the CARICOM area not long after, and in 1977, at the age of 30, he was seconded to West Indies Shipping Corporation (WISCO) in Trinidad as General Manager.

On May 25, 2016, The University of the West Indies Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business (UWI-ALJGSB) together with the Trinidad and Tobago Shipbuilding & Repair Maritime Cluster (TTSR) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to undertake maritime project initiatives involving research, the sharing of knowledge and showcase technologies in the context of improving energy efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions in the maritime sector.

One such initiative involves an Expression of Interest to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for the establishment of a regional Maritime Technical Cooperation Center (MTCC) for the benefit of the IMO’s 14 Member Caribbean States, of which Trinidad and Tobago is a signatory country. This forms part of an ambitious project to establish a global network of Maritime Technology Cooperation Centers (MTCCs) in developing countries, thanks to a €10 million funding contribution from the European Union. This project will be coordinated by IMO’s Marine Environment Division through a dedicated unit at IMO headquarters in London.

An MSC circular on Advice to Administrations, port State control authorities, companies, port terminals and masters regarding the SOLAS requirements for verified gross mass of packed containers has been agreed by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), following discussion on the pending entry into force of the requirements in SOLAS regulations VI/2.4 to VI/2/6 on the verification of the gross mass of packed containers on 1 July 2016. 

Concerns were noted with regards to the application of the requirements to a container which was loaded before 1 July 2016 and then transhipped. The Committee, meeting for its 96th session (11-20 May), also noted delegations’ comments that, in the first few months after 1 July 2016, some leeway should be provided in order for any problems resulting from software updates, required for the electronic collection and transmittal of verified gross mass data, to be rectified without causing delays to containers being loaded.


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