Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Addressing the third annual Bahamas International Maritime Conference and Trade Show (BIMCATS) held in Freeport, Grand Bahama, last week, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham reiterated the nation’s commitment to the maritime industry and highlighted the sector’s contribution to the island nation’s economy.
“As our cluster of maritime-related business expands, the business is taking on a new and increased importance in our economy,” said Ingraham during the opening ceremony at Our Lucaya resort on February 3. “We have an impressive ship register, one of the largest fleets in the world, with over 52 million in gross tonnage. It is not our goal, however, to have the biggest fleet in the world. What we desire, is to have the best. In this regard, we are proud to be on the White Lists of all of the world’s Port State Control regimes.”
The Prime Minister went on to underscore the importance Grand Bahama plays in the sector, as a home to Hutchison Whampoa’s Freeport Harbour and Container Port, which “serves as a major container transshipment hub for the eastern seaboard of the US and as the principal east-west line-haul route through the region.”
“Freeport is also host to a large ship care facility with three floating dry docks able to receive, for repairs and refurbishment, the largest cruise ships afloat, commercial cargo ships and mega yachts.”
Prime Minister Ingraham also cited the recent buy-out of the BORCO oil blending and storage facility by US firm Buckeye Partners for $1.7 billion, and its renewed commitment to continue with a planned $400-million expansion, as being signs that the logistics and maritime industry on the island was flourishing.
“We constantly seek to improve our maritime services and products,” the PM added. “And we also developed essential support industries, such as finance, insurance, ship brokers, and expert maritime legal expertise. Indeed, we are one of the world’s premier centres for international services.”
“Underlying all of our efforts is a commitment to quality. We aim to attract the top-end of the market in every field we operate. When we set out to attract ships to our fleet, we look for the quality owner with ships of which we can be proud.”
Speaking to the conference’s theme of training, the Prime Minister suggested that through The Bahamas Maritime Authority and the Bahamas Ship-owners Association’s training and education programmes, the new generation of skilled Bahamian seafarers that are now entering the international industry are both highly qualified and capable of taking leadership roles.
“For all these reasons,” concluded the PM, “we believe that ship-owners, managers and or operators looking for a home for their business, need look no further than The Bahamas.”