Issues With Shipping Hindering Trade
Published on February 18, 2014 by Theresa Blackman
The issue of shipping in the region continues to pose a problem for Barbados says Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC), Dr. Leroy McClean.
And, if something is not done to rectify the situation this country would not develop the kind of trading it needs.
Speaking this morning at the graduation ceremony for the Export Readiness Programme at Bagnall Point Gallery, Pelican Village, Dr. McClean told graduands from the 11 companies that participated in the course, that he hoped their involvement in the programme would lead them to seek out opportunities in the Caribbean and indeed further afield.
Noting that the industry was not without its challenges, the CEO said shipping was a constant problem, as getting products from Barbados to other countries in the Caribbean, even though “we are just a few miles apart”, continued to be a problem for local producers as they experienced difficulty getting their goods into neighbouring countries.
“The challenge that companies face is that it is cheaper for people in Jamaica to get the product directly from Japan than to get it from Barbados. Now that is ridiculous…I will continue to flog what seems to be a dead horse…You cannot integrate isolated countries and right now St. Lucia is next door, Brazil is just down the road from us but if we want to get something to and from Brazil it has to go through the Dominican Republic or Miami …,” Dr. McClean lamented.
The CEO argued that although Belize was also a CARICOM partner, persons importing items from that country encountered obstacles going through the United States that posed “all types of problems with respect to … [the] port in the United States and the standards that you had to reach.”
The BIDC head told participants that they needed to identify some of the challenges they faced and in turn “help those at the BIDC to put pressure on those persons who could do something about it, so as to ensure that we do the things that are necessary to improve the means of getting your goods out to the rest of the Caribbean.”
He also challenged participants to “see past” Barbados as a viable market as they had to see how best they could get into the wider region.
“It makes no sense the BIDC going to the extent of getting you export ready and then you are in a position that you cannot get your goods out to the rest of the Caribbean,” he charged.
The export readiness programme aims to increase the value of exports and the number of exporting companies with sustainable export markets; to increase the number of businesses with formal training in exporting and preparation of export marketing plans as well as to enhance the level of management expertise available with Small Micro Enterprises.