PORT ST. MAARTEN – Last week Port St. Maarten representatives, and stakeholders – Intermar Group/St. Maarten Shipping and Stevedoring NV President George Pelgrim and CMA CGM Managing Director Liliane Hohl, met with representatives of the French side Chamber of Commerce based on an invitation by its President Jean Arnell, to discuss pre and post Irma cargo flows and operations from the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facility to the French side of the island.
The St. Martin Chamber of Commerce were briefed about Port St. Maarten’s improvement ratings post Irma in particular cargo flow to the French side that would aid in the build back phase of both sides of the island.
Representatives of the chamber were very much pleased with the positive track record and recovery phase of the Port, and commended Port St. Maarten’s steadfast approach in ensuring an efficient flow of cargo as the island embarks upon the rebuilding phase of both North and South.
The Port St. Maarten presentation highlighted: port position pre and post Irma; operational percentage pre and after the hurricane; target to gain back full operational excellence with clear target dates; the execution of a solid, structured and strategic plan to aid in the reconstruction process; providing details of Port St. Maarten’s improvement matrix; highlighting the port’s progress bar, in particular, delivery of French side cargo / container gate outs which increased expeditiously since the passing of Irma.
The other stakeholders present also gave crucial or key points to highlight from a stevedore and agent perspective; their current and future plans, and about new key investments currently made to ensure regaining full operational excellence.
CMA-CGM also highlighted what they are doing to ensure efficient and timely deliveries to the French side by steadily alleviating the backlog of containers since post Irma, for more efficient deliveries and working with all business on the French side as pointed out by Arnell particularly looking forward to the 10 week gate out of current block stow containers destined for French St. Martin importers as well as improved communication and collaboration between entities.
The St. Martin Chamber of Commerce were very receptive and thanked port representatives and stakeholders for the objective and open dialogue that will now aid and allow them to inform their respective bodies/the St. Martin Chamber of Commerce Board about the efforts being made by Port St. Maarten and stakeholders involved in a quick return to a state of normalcy as far as Cargo and other operations are concerned.
“The French St. Martin Chamber of Commerce would like to express gratitude to the port officials for receiving us, providing clarity on port operations as well as pre and post Irma performance data. We are satisfied to learn of the new investments and the capacity build up being made by the port and its stakeholders,” Jean Arnell was quoted sharing in the meeting.
Port St. Maarten cargo imports are already seeing positive double digit growth as it relates to cargo volume incoming, with further double digit growth expected as the build back process continues, Port St. Maarten Management said on Friday.
“For the month of January compared to same period in 2017, we have experienced robust 19 % increase on full imports compared to prior years. As such it is paramount that this further translates into efficient and steadfast improvement / repairs to the Port – post Irma, to ensure we meet our service and operational excellence targets as we are steadily on our way to full operational capabilities,” Port St. Maarten Management added.
PHOTO CUTLINE L – R: President Jean Arnell, Liliane Hohl, CMA CGM Managing Director, George Pelgrim, President of Intermar Group/St. Maarten Shipping and Stevedoring NV, Roger Lawrence, Port St. Maarten rep, Richard vd Mark, Port St. Maarten senior management, Keevan Gipson, Port St. Maarten rep, and Hector Peters, Port St. Maarten rep.