CARIB | May 3, 2023

Maritime executives now charting the sector’s future in Florida

/ Our Today

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Future plans being hammered out at CSA’s mid-year conference underway in Fort Lauderdale

Mayor of Broward County Lamar P. Fisher, (centre) and Port Everglades CEO and Port Director, Jonathan T. Daniels (second from right) accept a token from the Caribbean Shipping Association’s CSA’s executives, (from left) Vice-president William Brown, President Marc Sampson and General Manager, Milaika Capella Ras. (Photo Contributed)

Nearly 300 maritime delegates have converged to chart the industry’s future at the 21st Caribbean Shipping Executives Conference (CSEC), which began on Monday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The two-day event is the Caribbean Shipping Association’s (CSA’s) mid-year conference, which is being staged through a partnership with Port Everglades at The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. CSA’s President, Marc Sampson, in his opening address, articulated that the conference provides an opportunity for industry members to engage in productive discussions that will address the challenges faced, identify opportunities for growth and development, and strengthen networks and partnerships. 

He argued that the CSEC focus areas are reflective of the prevailing circumstances within the shipping and logistics industry, particularly the session’s concentration on decarbonization, which will play an increasingly important role in the sector’s future. 

“I am committed to working with our members, partners, and stakeholders to promote the growth and sustainability of the regional shipping industry,” Sampson declared.

Decarbonisation and sustainability

On the matter of decarbonization and sustainability, CSA General Manager, Milaika Capella Ras cited the association’s recent Memorandum of Understanding with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which represents a significant milestone. The three-year agreement aims to accelerate the decarbonization of the shipping industry, strengthen the economic and social development of the region, and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of maritime transport-related activities and services.

Capella Ras said the partnership, which includes collaborating on two panels at the conference, will encompass decarbonization studies, capacity-building activities, labour affairs, gender inclusion and institutional strengthening. The keynote address was delivered by Simon Cohen, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Henco Logistics, who spoke on the topic “Happy Performance, Happy People”. 

Following a health scare, he encouraged attendees to ensure that in times of crisis, they should safeguard relationships with their family and friends and protect their physical well-being. Other presenters on the initial day were master mariner Captain Sukhjit Singh, who shared on the “The Impact of Decarbonization on the Shipping Industry’s Competitiveness”, moderated by Juan Carlos Croston, vice-president at Manzanillo International Terminal. 

“I am committed to working with our members, partners, and stakeholders to promote the growth and sustainability of the regional shipping industry”

Paul Sampson, President, Caribbean Shipping Association

Other topics of discussion

Dr Jan Hoffman, Head of Trade Logistics at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, spoke on “The 2020-2022 Maritime Supply Chain Crisis: Causes, Impacts, And Lessons Learned for the Future”, in an engaging presentation steered by the director of governmental and community affairs at Tropical Shipping, Jennifer Nugent Hill.

Nearly 300 delegates are in attendance at the Caribbean Shipping Executives’ Conference being held at The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort in Florida (Photo Contributed)

The matter of security and data privacy was explored by technology advisor Glaister Leslie and John Gibson, chief executive officer of PROTECTIFIQ Data Protection and Cybersecurity, in a session moderated by Frances Yeo, chief executive officer of software company ADVANTUM.

There was also a panel discussion on “The Caribbean As Platform to Decarbonize Shipping Operations (Public Sector)”, which included Cherri-Ann Farquharson, capacity development and gender specialist at the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency; Nelson Mojarro of the International Chamber of Shipping; Augustina Calatayud, lead transport specialist at the IDB; Vivian Rambarath Parasram, head of the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre – Caribbean; and Carleen Lynden Walker, executive director and co-founder of the North American Marine Environment Protection Association. 

This session was moderated by Roberto Aiello, the IDB’s principal regional energy specialist. The day’s proceedings concluded with a presentation on “Paperless Processes – The Importance, Our Progress, and What Is Next…” by Demóstenes Pérez, chief commercial officer at IPL Group, and facilitated by Rachel Matthews, General Manager of Shipco Transport Jamaica.   

The Caribbean Shipping Association was established in 1971 and is the central voice for the region’s maritime industry. The CSA boasts a membership of over 100 individual members and 12 national shipping organizations which represent interests in the private and public sectors across the entire Caribbean and South, Central and North American ports.


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