Plans to improve the operations of the Bridgetown Port are progressing steadily. Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Port Inc., David Jean-Marie, said as much at the company's brunch at the Bridgetown Cruise Terminal Sunday. "Currently, we are busy with initiatives for the short, medium and longer term future of the port. These include revising the Port Master Plan, separating cruise and cargo, developing the Central Container Examination Facility, completing berth number five and replacing container handling equipment.
"A preliminary cost of the equipment replacement project is $50 million, including acquisition of a gantry crane, several straddle carriers and fork trucks, among others. This is necessary as we thrive to remain 'Best In Class'," he added.
Jean-Marie also said that he attended a cruise tourism workshop last week where one of the presenters "attempted to quote, or misquote, a commentator by saying that if Christopher Columbus returned to Barbados, he would recognise the Port of Bridgetown".
"He was wrong on at least two counts: one, Columbus discovered the new world around 1492 whereas this port was opened in 1961; therefore it was chronologically impossible; and two, Columbus never visited Barbados.
"What we can be proud of is that on no occasion have we turned back a mega luxury liner or cargo vessel because of deficient facilities or inadequate resources, including pilotage, berthing, security and baggage and stores handling and so on.
"Instead of criticising this 50-year-old institution, we should loudly applaud and salute the efforts of the several hundreds of persons who enter those gates on a daily basis and ply their trade, apply their skills and diligently execute their duties in the interest of Barbados.
"These include port workers, customs workers, BICO employees, stevedore contractors, shipping agents, truckers, freighters, immigration officers, police officers, taxi operators, cruise terminal entrepreneurs and many others," he said.
The acting CEO also acknowledged the role of their partners, including the shipping agents, "and all our stakeholders who make up our port community". He said their role "cannot be overestimated, and I wish to assure them that their contribution is recognised and appreciated". (DS)
Taken from the Barbados Today Evening Edition (May 17, 2011)