Port Commissioner Major H. Gilbert Swaso last week explained that Belize does not have a functional shipping policy. That’s because Belize needs more visibility for its maritime and port sectors. One of those challenges is the implementation of a full policy, which addresses challenges in short-sea shipping. In essence, Belize has not been able to benefit fully from its relationships with Central America in this regard because much of our shipping still happens over land. We asked Minister responsible for logistics, Michel Chebat about it and he spoke generally on the issue.
Michel Chebat, Minister of Public Utilities and Logistics: “Clearly, I think we need to look at our entire Port’s System. The ports play a critical part in our economy and we have to make sure that our ports are efficient and that they provide the correct avenues for our manufacturers and producers to be able to ship our goods and services. Take into consideration that the Government of Belize does not own any port in Belize. We’re only the policy makers and the regulators and so we try our best to keep in constant dialogue with the port operators to make sure that they are maintaining a certain standard and that they’re creating new avenues for our Belizean producers.”
He also explained that Belize joining regional organisation, COCATRAM, may help Belize come in line with international port standards.
Dale McDougall, Love FM News: So Belize’s membership to COCATRAM, for example, will be a crucial part of that?
Michel Chebat, Minister of Public Utilities and Logistics: “That is in discussion. As you know, they came and they made a presentation to us. COCATRAM is the shipping equivalent or the marine equivalent of COCESNA and so that is an important organisation and so we’re looking to become a party to that as well.”