Thu | Dec 13, 2018

16th annual Caribbean Shipping Executives Conference under way

Published:Tuesday | May 9, 2017 | 12:00 AM
David Jean Marie president of the Caribbean Shipping Association delivers his opening address at the 16th Caribbean Shipping Executives Conference in Curacao on May 8, 2017.

The Caribbean Shipping Association's (CSA) 16th annual Caribbean Shipping Executives Conference (CSEC) began yesterday in Willemstad, CuraÁao, with remarks from the association's president, David Jean Marie.

Here are some excerpts from his address.

"Technology has created a major disruption to our industry, the emergence of the fourth Industrial Revolution has blurred the lines between the physical, the digital and the biological worlds. This plays out in even how we conduct security, in that we are shifting from physical presence to managing intangible global supply chains. This has resulted in two major changes facing our industry. One is a mindset gap and the other is a skill-set gap. As a result, the way we train people has to change to meet these new global requirements. We are still training people for jobs which no longer exist or are fast disappearing so, as a result, we end up with jobs without people and people without jobs. That means that the learning curve in the industry is very steep, resulting in health and safety hazards and costly mistakes, and lack of adherence to international standards and protocols. Additionally, the old mindset based on 'entitlement' and 'rights', rather than 'responsibilities', needs to evolve. Our training programmes are shifting to meet these needs.

"The substantial restructuring of global shipping lines will continue to send waves throughout the industry. It is therefore incumbent on us in the Caribbean to ensure that we are well-positioned to provide the necessary facilities and infrastructure to overcome the challenges, maintain viability and meet the growth demand of the future. At the recent Caribbean Shipping Association strategic retreat held just two days ago, much of our deliberations focused on proactively preparing for future challenges and charting a path to continued success over the course of the next decade. We at the CSA are very cognisant of the importance of planning ahead and investing in solutions now to ensure that we are able to navigate the headwinds in the months and years to come."

Jean Marie went on to highlight some of the game-changing plans which the CSA has.

"The Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) has developed a programme for the CSA in 'Strategic Leadership and Innovation' to be held in Barbados on June 28-29, 2017. This 'Strategic Leadership and Innovation' course will focus on soft skills, critical thinking and networking, and not just the technical skill areas. This focus is the result of the findings from research conducted by the CMU on the human resource needs in the region. Over 86.7% of the industry indicated that their greatest gap is in critical thinking and Innovation as our education systems are more focused on training students in rote learning, rather than the global trend of integrated learning."




The president discussed his plans to foster gender equality in the shipping industry:

"One of the Millennium Development Goals is to empower women and it is known that the shipping industry is among the lowest in integrating women at the strategic level. The CMU is developing a programme for CSA, delivered in collaboration with Women in Maritime Caribbean, specifically for women leaders. In this way once again, the CSA is moving with global trends."

Jean Marie also laid out some the CSA's plans for the future:

"One of the new strategic moves in the coming years is to integrate the CSA with other regional associations, with particular focus to be placed on integrating the African and South American nations. We need to be more integrated in order to increase our real value in the global supply chain."

In his plans for the future, the president added:

"The CMU, in consultation with multilateral and regional bodies such as Caricom, Gulf Ports of the Americas, PMAC and the IDB, has developed an open-source database platform for the CSA to collect 'trade and activity' data which enhances the research capabilities, and positions the CSA as a trade think tank."

The conference is exploring topics such as maritime cybersecurity, value deployment and the efforts of the industry to support more environmentally friendly practices. The over 200 delegates will also tour cruise and cargo facilities. The conference ends on Wednesday.