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Critical port management areas in focus at seminar

Critical port management areas in focus at seminar


Management of small developing ports is done by managers who do not necessarily have port training, and while many of these persons may be highly qualified in various management disciplines,{{more}} they rely primarily on gathering their port industry knowledge from their experience in a port environment.

And while experiential knowledge of port industry and management is invaluable to managers of ports, there is no substitute to formal port industry training, particularly now as many ports are having to deal with issues relating to diverse financial, human and infrastructure challenges.

This was the premise of a four day seminar on Port Management which got underway Tuesday, January 31, at the Sunset Shores Hotel.

Representatives from across the region came together to focus on critical areas of port management, including trade, shipping, transport and ports; operation, statistics and performance indicators; planning and development, finance and marketing and port challenges.

The seminar is taking place against the backdrop of decreasing revenues and increased operational costs, Charmane Tappin-John, Manager Human Resources and Corporate Affairs at the St Vincent and the Grenadines Port Authority, said during the opening ceremony on Tuesday.

She, however, contended that the human resources remained the most important asset.

“And investing in capacity building of our employees continues to be a main priority for ports across the region,” she said, adding that it was only through this investment that intelligent solutions to the challenges faced can come out.

“Innovation, efficiency and productivity must be our buzz words if we are to successfully tackle the broad range of complex assignments associated with port management,” she continued.

It was noted that the Inter-American Committee on ports is interested in helping all ports across the region to become more self sufficient.

This point was made by Carlos Mladinic, Secretary of the Inter-American Committee on Ports, and according to him, this assistance included building capacity through human resource training.

“In this context, I would like to emphasize the critical and vital role played by ports in the supply chain,” Mladinic said.

He explained that in today’s globalized world, the role of ports in the supply chain was significant in that it influenced the final cost of produce; therefore the way in which a port performs has a direct impact on the commerce and economy of any country.

“Today many of the barriers faced by small businesses to export produce are not the taxes and the not the import tariffs but the cost of shipping and handling,” Mladinic contended.

He further explained that it was important for any port authority to help make the supply chain safe and secure and that ensuring this required a coordinated effort by the private and public sector.

The state, he said, was usually responsible for ensuring a certain level of physical safety and the security of service and in return the private sector must implement internal security measures.

According to Mladinic, port authorities must implement policies that are sustainable, viable and competitive, but to do this the human resource must be properly trained.

“For then they will be able to impact positively on the many challenges faced by ports,” he said, adding that the seminar was intended to do just that.

The seminar ends today. (DD)