Port St. Maarten Management Concludes Successful Meetings with Saba and St. Eustatius Port and Government Officials

Management of Port St. Maarten concluded meetings on the islands of Saba and St. Eustatius with respect to assistance in port handling, operations and economic development.

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 management officials met with government representatives of Saba and St. Eustatius on February 4.  The objectives of the meetings were to discuss opportunities and collaboration with respect to economic sustainability from the perspective of port operations.

The discussion with the islands mainly focused on how to create a strategic and productive partnership between the three SSS 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 between Saba/St. Eustatius and St. Maarten in order to continue to propel economic growth.

Both meetings were described as successful by the parties involved, and follow-up meetings are planned in the near future with respect to execution plans.

Port St. Maarten is one of the only matured cruise destinations in the north eastern Caribbean, and the proximity of the neighboring 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 neighboring 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 new tour that could be developed is a ferry ride to St. Barths for breakfast and then off to either Saba or St. Eustatius for lunch.

Port St. Maarten was represented by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Mingo, Governmental Relations Hector Peters, and Bertrand Peters, Roger Lawrence members of the Port St. Maarten management team.

Saba was represented by Commissioners Chris Johnson and Bruce Zagers.  The delegation from St. Eustatius comprised of Commissioner Carlyle Tearr, members of the Island Council, Franklin Brown, Adelka Spanner, Milicent Lijfrock-Marsdin, Reuben Merkman (chairman), 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.

“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,” CEO Mark Mingo said on Monday.

Six months ago – September 2014 – Port St. Maarten management met with Commissioner Carlyle Tearr of St. Eustatius and his consultant A.J. Bart Van Asch, 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.

Commissioner Tearr and Van Asch at that time was able to get an in-depth understanding of the system handling in terms of  Gate control, Discharge/Loading Cargo vessels, the interactive website where Carrier agents and Port ops can communicate, and most importantly relating to their visit was the invoicing capabilities.