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Freeport poised for Panama business

Freeport is one of only four ports in the region that can accommodate the increased business expected from the Panama Canal expansion, according to chairman of shipping firm The Kestrel Group Andy Thorne. Thorne made the comments yesterday at the Bahamas International Investment and Business Forum in Freeport. 

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TheBahamasInvestor.com
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Thursday, February 21, 2013

Freeport is one of only four ports in the region that can accommodate the increased business expected from the Panama Canal expansion when it is completed in 2015, according to chairman of shipping firm The Kestrel Group Andy Thorne.

Freeport joins Kingston in Jamaica, Panama and Norfolk in the US as the only ports in the Atlantic and Caribbean region capable of handling the bigger ships that will be able to navigate the canal when it expands.


“The Panama Canal is a huge opportunity for The Bahamas. These big ships are coming and you have an opportunity now so grab it,” Thorne told investors during the first day of the Bahamas International Investment and Business Forum (BIIBF) in Freeport yesterday.

Thorne said that Freeport had the edge over the three other ports because of its location.

“You are very close to the US, so ships can get here in half a day. Kingston is still being developed and not quite ready. The infrastructure is not there yet.”

Thorne urged the government and Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) to market the shipping potential of Freeport, saying: “What you need to do is get out and sell the advantages of Freeport. You have a stable government; it is very safe; and you have a government that wants to do business.”

“You have great opportunities here. You have a world-class port.”

The BIIBF is being held at the Grand Lucayan Resort in Freeport February 20-22.

The event has been organized by The Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) in collaboration with GBPA and the Bahamas Investment Authority (BIA)

Speakers include Prime Minister Perry Christie, who delivered the keynote address, GBPA chairman Ian Fair and chief executive officer of the Bahamas Financial Services Board Aliya Allen.

cmorris@dupuch.com

George Markantonis, president and managing director of the multi-billion dollar Atlantis Paradise Island resort, told investors at the Bahamas International Investment and Business Forum yesterday that the tourism sector needs to be creative to succeed.

With the Panama Canal set to double its capacity in 2015, the Grand Bahama Shipyard will reap the benefits of increased business and be able to contribute further to the island's growing maritime sector, according to Grand Bahama Shipyard CEO.

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