Thu | Jan 21, 2021

CSA’s 50th anniversary to be celebrated at virtual AGM

Published:Tuesday | November 10, 2020 | 12:05 AM

The Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA) will celebrate its 50th anniversary during the organisation’s virtual annual general meeting (AGM), November 16-19. This year’s AGM will be like no other in the history of the CSA, being staged virtually on digital platforms that will facilitate all business and committee meetings (open and closed), elections of officers and group representatives, and plenary sessions. The Caribbean’s maritime sector is highly digitalised, therefore, shipping interests have been quick to adapt to the ‘new normal’ brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is evident by the fact that throughout the region, vital supply chains are open and active. Also, organisations representing shipping interests at the national and regional levels have been actively engaging members online, sharing information and ideas, and lobbying for action where necessary. In fact, plans were well under way for the CSA’s Caribbean Shipping Executives’ Conference (CSEC) in May when the pandemic hit, but the meetings, discussions and workshops still went ahead successfully via the digital and virtual platforms.

The crucial issues of the current historic period will be addressed at the CSA’s 50th AGM, and two keynote speakers of international renown will be sharing their ideas with members on days three and four of the conference. On Day 3, November 18, Joel Comm, New York Times best-selling author and new media innovator, will present his thoughts on harnessing the power of social media and mobile applications to expand brand reach and engage in active relationship marketing. As an entrepreneur and motivational speaker, Comm is regarded as an expert in creating fierce brand loyalty for a business and how to harness the marketing power of mobile applications to “explode profits”.

Changes to come in the Industry

The keynote speaker on Day 4, November 19, is Lars Jensen, CEO and Partner of Sea Intelligence Consulting, which is focused on providing expert assistance in strategic decision making and analysis in the wider container shipping industry. Jensen is the author of the book Liner Shipping 2025, focusing on the changes to come in the industry and how carriers, terminals, ports, shippers, and forwarders should navigate these changes successfully.

Conferences hosted by the CSA provide a forum in which matters relevant to the growth and development of Caribbean shipping are discussed. Urgent and critical matters that the CSA has been addressing this year include the safe repatriation of seafarers; appropriate arrangements for crew change; and the need for greater harmonisation of laws and regulations to ensure safe movement of vessels, crew, passengers and cargo. Building resilience in the face of adversity has always been high on the agenda of the CSA, and the organisation’s focus on the human element in shipping is proving to be the correct approach in ensuring the sustainability of the industry.

It was in the late 1960s that shipping interests in the region, whose positive experience of learning from each other in matters of industrial relations, started discussing the need for an organisation that would facilitate continuous exchange of information, advice, and best practices while creating a voice for their shared interests regionally and beyond. These talks culminated in the inaugural General Meeting of the Caribbean Shipping Association in Nassau, Bahamas, on October 19, 1971.

Since its formation, the CSA has broadened its representation of stakeholders and maintained its relevance by addressing the burning issues of the particular period and by taking a proactive approach to representing the best interests of the maritime sector. The annual general meetings of the association have, therefore, been crucial milestones in the development of regional shipping, serving as a catalyst for the tremendous transformation of port infrastructure, maritime enterprises, professional development, and industrial relations.