Shipping | Technology takes center stage on final day of CSA conference | Dispatch


The Caribbean Shipping Executives’ Conference (CSEC) concluded its 20th conference on May 25 after presentations on the future of the industry focused on technology, including digitalization, smart ports and cyber-disconnect. The second of the two-day staging also focused on mentorship and equality, the impact of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA) Chief Executive Milaika Capella Ras, in her opening remarks, noted that the sessions are about collaboration and the exchange of ideas to collectively advance the industry.

The day’s discussion began with “Electronic Bill of Lading – Digitizing Documentation in Our Industry” presented by Roman Ramirez, Director of Business Operations at ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Limited. Encouraging more entities to embrace digitization, he said the process has several benefits, including simplifying processes, reducing costs and promoting sustainability by reducing the use of paper globally.

This session was followed by an engaging conversation about “Mentorship and Women’s Equality” in the shipping industry and the role played by those employed in it. The panel included Jennifer Nugent-Hill, director of government and community affairs at Tropical Shipping; Tamara Lowe, President of Women in Maritime Association Caribbean (WiMAC); Professor Opal Palmer Adisa of Adisa Consultancy; and Wendy Fox, general manager of accounting at Tropical Shipping. The session was moderated by Corah Ann Robertson Sylvester, CEO of Seaboard Jamaica and former CSA President.

In her presentation, Professor Palmer noted that there are generally few women in senior administrative positions and that they often feel isolated and can easily be singled out. She said effectively negotiating the “gender minefield” involves being aware of internalized biases, working to unlearn old gender dynamics, and seeking out other successful women to learn from.

On the theme, “The Ongoing Cyber ​​Disconnect: Why Maritime Leaders Need to Act Now,” presenters Chris Bhatt, Chief Commercial Officer at Transportation & Logistics Aon; Scott Dickerson, Global Cyber ​​Ambassador for CMA CGM; and moderator Max Bobys, vice president of Hudson Cyber, said the impact of cyberattacks is costly, disrupts operations and has the potential to create additional liability if sensitive data is breached. They said cyber risk efforts require team engagement, starting with leaders in all areas of the organization.

The technology dialogue continued with a presentation on “Smart Ports: Working on Sustainable Development of Ports” by Andy Hecker, Port General Manager and Port Miami Chief Financial Officer, and moderated by Albert Elens, Maduro Shipping General Manager . Hecker said a smart port is more than the incorporation of technology, digitalization and artificial intelligence and must offer a secure supply chain, freight visibility, cost competitiveness and be sustainable on the environmental plan.

A panel discussion focused on ‘The effect of the global crisis on the Caribbean; The COVID-19 pandemic and impending escalation of war in Ukraine followed. The panel included speakers, Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, professor at Hofstra University in New York; Philip Gray, partner at Grayship; Mike Maura, CEO and Director of Nassau Cruise Port Limited; and Donald Brown, vice president for maritime policy at the Cruise Lines International Association. The session was moderated by Mark Williams, CEO of Kingston Wharves Limited and Chairman of CSA Group B. In his presentation, Gray noted that the key drivers behind the increase in freight rates and carrier profits over the past two years have been container system inefficiencies, port disruptions and congestion, which have been further affected by pandemic restrictions.

Despite these shortcomings, Maura noted that the recovery of the cruise industry continues with more than six million cruise passengers visiting the Caribbean since June 2021 and cruise lines reporting that demand is exceeding 2019 levels.

The day’s presentations ended with a discussion on trade facilitation by Dr Patrick Antoine, who said that the current situation is characterized by long and cumbersome border procedures, high freight costs, low levels of port efficiency and operational capacity, and inadequate safety and security for the informal shipping sector. He also noted that transport and logistics are an important component of regional supply chains as they affect business efficiency and cost structures.

CSA will hold its next meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico in October 2022.


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