Editorial from Dr. Fritz Pinnock, Executive Director, Caribbean Maritime Institute (Jamaica)February 2016
The Greater Caribbean comprises 4.3 million km2 of water stretching from the Caribbean Sea to the Gulf of Mexico, and numbers 800 million inhabitants.
There is a major shift underway in the North American global transportation corridor due to the following three developments:
- The expansion of the Panama Canal scheduled to open by mid 2016.
- The construction of the Nicaragua Interoceanic Grand Canal due to be completed by 2020.
- The transformation of key ports from “transshipment hub ports” to “global gateway ports” facilitating “last mile logistics”. The emergence of new “logistics hub ports” increases the opportunities for French and European Union companies to participate in the global supply chain. The “last mile” is the most inefficient part of this global supply chain and presents the greatest opportunities for adding value.
Nine out of every ten containers bound for the Caribbean will return empty to major export destinations due to the unavailability of physical exports. The primary economic focus of the French, English and Spanish Caribbean territories is on providing tourism and general services as opposed to mass physical exports. The imbalance between import and export volumes presents both a problem and an opportunity for the Greater Caribbean territories.
In this context, the French Caribbean islands and French Guiana can position themselves as a primary gateway to Europe and equally Europe’s gateway to the Caribbean, and form an integral part of the global supply chain. The inaugural logistics conference being organised by the Cluster GAT Caraïbes in Martinique in May 2016 presents a unique opportunity to change this paradigm!
Read the article: "Cross-border economic development: a challenge for Martinique"
More info on the Caribbean Maritime Institute