From May 17 through 19, the ninth annual Caribbean Shipping Executives Conference took place in Curaçao. Organizer CSA (Caribbean Shipping Association) and the local port companies CPA and CPS hosted 200 maritime experts from the Caribbean islands, Latin America and the USA. The main theme was RIMS (Regional Integrated Maritime Strategy) and for all sectors the question was set: RIMS: if not today … When?
After the opening ceremony with the singing of the National Anthem by schoolchildren from all corners of the Caribbean, lectures were given about global economic and trade outlook in the recently-afflicted industry.
Rupert Connor from Fort Lauderdale discussed the opportunities in the luxury yacht business, Linval Baily from Jamaica cited security challenges and FedEx Troy Maxey from Miami told his story about integrated air cargo. The presentation of the US Customs and Border protection representative, Loretta Gamble elicited emotional reactions from the island officials and moderator David Harding had to smooth ruffled feathers.
During the following port tour for which delegates and spouses boarded Manta and Ocoa, two seagoing tug boats, all minds were united again, enjoying the views on Curaçao's Handelskade and even more on shipping action at the CPA and KTK port offices, CPS' container quay and the hustle and bustle at the CuraÃ§ao Dry Dock.
On the last day solutions for RIMS implementation in the perspective of cruise tourism, shore excursions, ocean carrier, feeder and ports and luxury yachts were concluded and discussed in concurrent sessions.
Besides learning from lectures the conference was above all experienced as an excellent networking opportunity, even at the lively pirate party at the centuries-old Fort Nassau, now a restaurant and the central spot for all harbor movements.