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Belize seeks benefits of being part of COCATRAM

The Belize Port Authority is hosting a four-day technical cooperation visit from COCATRAM, the Central American Commission of Maritime Transport. Belize has been associated with the regional organisation within the Central American Integration System (SICA) for years and the country is now trying to become a full-fledged member. Ports Commissioner Major H. Gilbert Swaso discussed how this new partnership can help Belize take greater advantage of short-sea shipping. 

Major H. Gilbert Swaso, Ports Commissioner: “It will also bring more visibility to the maritime and port sector in Belize. At this time a lot of our cargo statistics are not even well exposed and known by the rest of the world. By joining hands with COCATRAM that visibility will certainly be more open for others to see. There is also the instance of the short sea shipping. We are not benefitting fully from short sea shipping at this time meaning that there isn’t much shipping that is taking place between Belize and Honduras, between Belize and Guatemala and a lot of our cargo they are coming over land and that is certainly more expensive and certainly more not environmentally friendly at all as well. So by doing short sea shipping it will be cheaper and then we’ll have more cargo coming in as a result of such a venture.”

Major Swaso says that another challenge is shaping Belize’s maritime policy to better respond to environmental disasters. 

Major H. Gilbert Swaso, Ports Commissioner: “Furthermore as it relates to maritime oil spill contingency planning while we do have a plan joining hands with COCATRAM will enable us to link with Central America and to be in a better position to get support from the Central American countries with their strategy and we tie into that strategy. As you know it’s just a small space and within that small space the oil spill if one should occur would be detrimental to all of us. So such a venture by us joining together we can be in a better position to certainly combat those kinds of spills if and when they do occur.”