Maritime: Vital to Caribbean Development

Shipping—inclusive of cargo and cruise—is indispensable to the Caribbean.  Maritime transport is one of the priority sectors in the region to create jobs, alleviate poverty, build competitiveness and unleash key economic drivers to transition the regional economy to growth.  International transportation has long been recognized as one of the main drivers of development in achieving economies of scale.

Shipping, and by extension the logistics and supply chain industry, account for 35% of the value of global trade which is dependent on ships to transport bulk cargo over long distances.  The Caribbean Sea is ranked as one of the principal waterways carrying this traffic, and as a result has one of the most intensive maritime traffic in the world.  In addition, the Caribbean Sea also plays a significant role in cruise ship tourism, commanding over 60 % of the world’s cruise market, and is home to two of the world’s largest flag States – Panama and The Bahamas.

Jamaica and The Bahamas benefit from their intermediacy setting in the principal East-West global trade routes, which pass through the Panama Canal, upping the potential and opportunity for these two countries .  Several ports in these two countries, in particular, have been able to take advantage of their geographical position, because of the ascendant hub and spoke network in global liner shipping.

Noteworthy also is that the maritime container trade has registered the greatest expansion worldwide of which Latin America and the Caribbean has shown remarkable increases.