The Daily Herald writes that Port St. Maarten management concluded meetings with Government representatives of Saba and St. Eustatius, held on those islands, on February 4. The meetings focused on assistance in port handling, operations and economic development. A Port St. Maarten press release said the objectives of the meetings were to discuss opportunities and collaboration with respect to economic sustainability from the perspective of port operations and focused mainly on how to create a strategic and productive partnership between the three islands.
Ferry services between the islands were an important topic of discussion in terms of tourism and the transportation of supplies and goods, with the main objective to enhance the connectivity and propel economic growth. The meetings were described as successful by the parties involved, the Port said, and follow-up meetings are planned in the near future with respect to execution plans.
“Port St. Maarten is a success story for the Caribbean Basin, and has received visits and inquiries from various islands in the region about its efficient operations. “Port St. Maarten is one of the only matured cruise destinations in the Northeastern Caribbean and the proximity of the neighbouring islands, which are linked to different European countries such as the United Kingdom and France, makes it unique. “Transporting cruise passengers by ferry to one of the neighbouring islands is part of the Reinventing Cruise St. Maarten which was promoted during the largest and most successful Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association Conference and Trade Show that the destination hosted back in October 2014.”
One tour that might be developed is a ferry to St. Barths for breakfast that would make its way to either Saba or St. Eustatius for lunch.
Port St. Maarten was represented by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Mingo, Hector Peters of Governmental Relations, and Port St. Maarten management team members Bertrand Peters and Roger Lawrence. Saba was represented by Commissioners Chris Johnson and Bruce Zagers. The Statia delegation comprised Commissioner Carlyle Tearr, Island Council members Franklin Brown, Adelka Spanner, Milicent Lijfrock- Marsdin, Reuben Merkman (chairman) and Elvin Henriquez, and Harbour Master Austin van Heyningen.
“Based on meetings that have been held in the past with various Dutch Ministers who visited Port St. Maarten, a concern for them was to improve the connectivity with the public entities of St. Eustatius and Saba. This has been the current focus of the discussions,” Mingo was quoted as saying. “Connectivity between the islands can only be successful with a meaningful economic exchange. I see many areas that the three islands can work together on and several St. Maarten Members of Parliament also favour this approach embarked upon. “As Port St. Maarten, we will get it done. We are committed just like St. Eustatius and Saba are committed. This approach is also part of our Strategic Business Plan 2019.
The next stage is working out the action plans.” Port St. Maarten management met with Commissioner Tearr and consultant A.J. Bart Van Asch in September 2014 to discuss the workings of the port logistics software system, Global Logistic System (GLS). A full explanation of the Port system was given coupled with a live demonstration of gate and invoicing activities, providing an in-depth understanding of the system handling.