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New Port in the making

Gercine Carter

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Chairman of Barbados Port Inc. David Harding says initiatives and projects are in train for “a brand new” Bridgetown Port “in a few years’ time”.

The improvements will make it possible to accommodate bigger ships and give a faster turn-around, Harding reported.

The port chief shared information about plans for the port’s development when he signed an International Sister Seaport Agreement with Manzanillo International Terminal of Panama at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre recently.

A Sister Port Agreement is designed to strengthen the economic and commercial bonds between respective countries with a focus on technology and operational improvements. It allows the signatories to share components of each other’s programmes and policies, information about in-port infrastructure improvement, commercial facilities development and port operation.

The agreement will officially link Barbados Port Inc and the Manzanillo International Terminal in recognition of the contribution made by Barbadians to the development of Panama through the Panama Canal project.

Harding acknowledged there was an important link between Barbados and Panama, as he surmised the 51-mile-long Panama Canal would have saved approximately 7800 miles

of all-water shipping service from San Francisco to New York.

“We look at the Panama Canal through eyes that say when you can shorten the distance of cargo ships plying trade from one point to another, the Panama Canal is very important as new trade lanes were created.”

Senior vice president of Manzanillo International Terminal, Carlos Urriola signed the agreement on behalf of Panama. He said it was amazing that small countries like Barbados and Panama could build and operate as large a facility as the Panama Canal.

Manzanillo said work was already being undertaken to expand the Canal to accommodate  the increasing number of mega cargo ships that pass through what is regarded as one of the wonders of the world.