Transshipment Ports Facilitating Major Trade


President of the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ), Harry Maragh has said that the country’s transshipment business not only facilitated trade between Caribbean neighbours and major players in the international arena, but it also created opportunities and financial viability in all other sectors of the society.
Speaking at a maritime security seminar hosted by the SAJ, the Port Authority of Jamaica and Security Administrators Limited (SAL) at the Knutsford Court Hotel on Tuesday (Jan. 13), Mr. Maragh pointed out that, “Port Bustamante and our international facilities around the island including our cruise ship ports give Jamaica an international ranking that belies our size, but besides that, they create opportunities and financial viability in all other sector of our economy”.
Describing the port of Kingston as “the gateway to Jamaica and the catalyst of trade with the outside world”, Mr. Maragh said the current threat of terrorism and the traditional scourges of drugs and contraband presented a real and present danger that had to be averted. Even without international codes, he said, such as the important International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code, “we recognize that improving the security of our ports is paramount to meeting our objective to develop our country”. However, the ISPS and the United States Maritime Transport Security Act put into sharp focus, the responsibilities of the SAJ and the Port Authority of Jamaica, Mr. Maragh said.
“It is a simple matter, that if we do not meet our obligations to comply, the international gates of trade would be closed to us. It would mean that we as an industry would have failed in our responsibility as gatekeepers for our society. We do not know failure,” he stated, adding, “as we prepare locally to meet the deadlines of the impending maritime regulations we must keep in focus the need to secure the future of our society.
Our efforts must be seen in those simple terms. Jamaica depends on us. We must therefore continue to work together as an industry and country to maintain and strengthen the investment that we have made in our ports”.
He further remarked, “our involvement in today’s seminar is in keeping with our efforts for the last 65 years to secure the viability of the shipping industry in Jamaica and to protect the jobs of workers by introducing and supporting initiatives to develop and boost efficiency of our ports”.
The SAJ president assured, “we are seeking to further the goal of ensuring that Jamaica is ready, that our local seaports, ships and port facilities are secure for trading with our international partners”. It was against this background that the SAJ decided to be associated with the seminar, being among the key agencies working with the Port Authority of Jamaica to upgrade the level of port security generally.
In response to new requirements in maritime security, the SAJ, the Port Authority of Jamaica and SAL staged the seminar, themed, ‘The Challenges of Compliance with New International Security Measures’ to update, inform and sensitize stakeholders about the implications of these impending international security requirements.
The seminar featured presentations on developments and trends in drug trafficking, locally, regionally and internationally; a panel presentation on ISPS code; the role of the contraband enforcement team; the Business Anti-Smuggling Coalition (BASC) in Jamaica; a video presentation on container x-ray machines; and coastal security in Jamaica.
Among the highlights of the seminar were demonstrations on underwater inspections of ships; drug detecting dogs; methods of concealment in containers; and creative concealment methods.
Seminar presenters and participants included President of the Shipping Association of Jamaica, Harry Maragh; Senior Superintendent Carl Williams, of the Narcotics Division; Director General of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica, Rear Admiral Peter Brady; Political and Economic Officer, United States Embassy, Rebecca Patrick; Managing Director of SAL, Captain John Ulett; Superintendent A.J. Forbes, Vice President of Security – Port Authority of Jamaica; Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Exporters Association, Greta Bogues; and Commander Sydney Innis Commanding Officer of the JDF Coast Guard.

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