Barbados’ Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey believes that Barbados Port Inc’s (BPI) role in receiving US$3-million worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) demonstrates its capacity to become a regional logistics hub.
Last Wednesday, BPI’s Queens Bond at the Bridgetown Port was the venue for receiving 35,000 protective suits, 111,000 isolation gowns, over 67,000 goggles, 250,000 protective gloves, and 160,000 masks.
During the reception ceremony, Humphrey pointed out that recent improvements in port operations aligned with BPI’s vision of becoming a regional logistics hub.
“The port is becoming a lot more digital… we are working with the Caribbean Development Bank on the [development of a] port community system as we transform the way we do business. This is a good time to make the Bridgetown Port your integrated regional logistic hub,” he further stated.
The procurement of the PPEs was a joint effort of the Caribbean Development Bank and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency.
As part of its contribution — and efforts to become a regional logistics hub — BPI has agreed to offer warehousing facilities at the Port of Bridgetown for the storage, sorting and repacking of the equipment. In addition, BPI will assist with the distribution of the PPEs to as far as Haiti and Jamaica in the Northern Caribbean and Guyana and Suriname further south.
The minister was echoing a perspective shared by Acting Executive Director of CDEMA Elizabeth Riley.
“To support our participating states, CDEMA has established an integrated regional logistics hub in Barbados, which serves as a primary repository and transhipment point for COVID-19-related relief supplies and aids the coordination of humanitarian logistics,” she remarked.
Minister Humphrey’s pronouncement was also in line with BPI’s vision, as stated on its website, to take advantage of its strategic location in the South East Caribbean, coupled with its focus on efficiency, reliability and exemplary customer service, to become the “perfect gateway for moving people and cargo.
“We are dedicated to supporting businesses in the import/export trade with state-of-the-art cargo handling facilities and we are at the heart of the island’s cruise industry, providing great berthing spots, dedicated vessel and passenger services. We are guardians of the environment, preserving our heritage landmarks and protecting our blue and green spaces,” the vision statement continued.
According to BPI’s website, the Port of Bridgetown is a multi-purpose seaport where trade and logistics, transport and technology, people and passion come together in a vibrant hub.