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Maritime sector and ports in the Caribbean

Published date 2009-06-01
Author Ricardo J. Sanchez - Gordon Wilmsmeier
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From the abstract:

A number of CARICOM countries (esp. Jamaica and The Bahamas) benefit from their intermediacy setting in the principal East-West global trade routes, which pass through the Panama Canal on the one hand and for North-South routes between South America and North America on the other hand. A number of ports have been able to take advantage of their geographical position, becauseof the ascendant hub and spoke network in global liner shipping. On the contrary the scale of hinterlands and slow port reforms has been a drawback for development of other ports.     The transshipment market carries a significant risk for ports, since shipping lines tend to act footloose in the cost and scale driven container shipping market. The transshipment ports in CARICOM have based their success on different strategies. Freeport uses its unique geographical position and the artificially created barrier to Short Sea Shipping (SSS) in the US by the Jones Act. Kingston has adopted a strategy to tie shipping companies to the port, by developing dedicated terminals and attracting private investment from shipping companies.    Research on freight rates in the Caribbean is of high interest, as it depicts key influencing factors. The empirical analysis discusses how factors like distance between origin and destination of cargo flows, port infrastructure, connectivity, and the number of services among others influence freight rates.   Further, CARICOM countries are part of the most attractive region for cruise ship tourism. However, CARICOM countries suffer from the footloose behaviour of the oligopolistic cruise line industry and the related bargaining power of these lines. Yachting activities have been developing at a high speed and bring new challenges and opportunities for development.