Wed | Jul 18, 2018

Inaugural Bunker Industry Caribbean Conference a success!

Published:Tuesday | May 8, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Minister of Transport and Mining the Hon Robert Montague addressing a gala dinner during the inaugural International Bunker Industry Association Caribbean Conference held at the Hyatt Ziva Hotel in Montego Bay from April 17-19.

The Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), in partnership with the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA), hosted a two-day conference and training session at the Hyatt Ziva Hotel in Montego Bay from April 17-19, 2018. The conference aims were to educate stakeholders, including shipping line representatives, regulators, port authorities and bunker suppliers, on legislative changes affecting the industry; to promote Jamaica as a competent bunkering location; and to provide important networking opportunities to international-sector interests.

The conference was well supported by the relevant policymakers.

Minister of Transport and Mining the Hon Robert Montague, in addressing a gala dinner during the conference, brought into sharp focus Jamaica's potential to benefit from the generation of up to 900 job opportunities and increased economic activity of approximately US$3 billion. This result could be achieved if the country grows its share of vessels passing through the Panama Canal and bunkering (refuelling) in Jamaica to ten percent. He also hailed the partnership with IBIA in the staging of this conference.

Dr the Hon Andrew Wheatley, minister of science, energy and technology, provided the keynote address at the opening ceremony. "The conference," he said, "is of tremendous value not only in relation to our bunkering industry, but also in terms of the unparalleled opportunities for the establishment of a range of ancillary services to the global shipping industry as we move towards making Jamaica a major maritime centre in the Caribbean.

"Jamaica will always be an ideal location for shipping and increasingly, we are becoming a significant location for bunkering."

In his presentation, which was made to regional and international shipping interests, Minister Wheatley outlined the factors that are contributing to Jamaica's growing attractiveness as a location for ships to take bunker. "The projected rise in shipping traffic with the widening of the Panama Canal provides an opportunity for us to capitalise on a greater demand for bunkering. Jamaica is [also] a major cargo centre, and this can be leveraged in developing Jamaica as a major bunkering centre. Increased shipping and cargo traffic could translate into higher bunkering volumes," the minister said.

DISCUSSIONS AND NEGOTIATIONS

The MAJ has been fostering the development of bunkering in Jamaica for a number of years by working with local and international partners, and the inaugural International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) Caribbean Bunker Conference is a result of their foresight and advocacy.

The International Bunker Industry Association is a member organisation representing global stakeholders across the industry value chain in more than 80 countries in discussions and negotiations with national and international policymakers. It does this, in part, by representing the industry at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in a consultative capacity. A joint conference between the MAJ, the IMO implementing body in Jamaica, and IBIA has proven to be an excellent fit.

At the conclusion of the successful training and conference, Justin Murphy, CEO of IBIA, shared, "As the voice of the global bunker industry, the growing market in Jamaica is very important to IBIA. This inaugural conference was a fantastic event, and we look forward to working together again in 2019."