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The government of Antigua and Barbuda has set a policy objective to establish the Port of St. John’s as a major transshipment hub for goods bound for neighboring islands, and this objective is already being realized on the ground.
The General Manager of the Antigua Port Authority, Darwin Telemaque, has been actively promoting the country’s improved harbor facilities to the shipping community, and he confirmed that one shipping line is already using the port for transshipment operations.
Further discussions are underway to expand this operation with other shipping lines.
“On Saturday, we had a ship from Tropical Shipping that brought in cargo for St. Kitts, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia and a few other ports. A Tropical vessel will then pick up these goods and take them to their respective destinations; we are doing transshipment,” he declared.
Transshipment is a common practice already taking place at the Port Authority despite the absence of a formal agreement stating so. According to an expert, the Port Authority does not have a signed document committing to transshipment for a set period, but the activity is already underway.
An agreement to make it more permanent is being discussed with Tropical and there are one or two other parties with whom they are close to signing an additional transshipment agreement, said Telemaque.
He added that this is significant as Antigua and Barbuda has a role to play in the OECS’s existence.
Telemaque also referred to the upgraded US$100 million port as the transshipment hub of the OECS.
He explained that the port has the most capable operating staff, the largest space for dry and refrigerated cargo, the largest container space, the largest multiple berth locations, and the deepest harbour in the OECS, making it ready to serve the region.