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(BARBADOS TODAY) Minister of Tourism and International Business Senator Lisa Cummins has challenged stakeholders within the local maritime sector to expand their scope and investments into owning international franchises, as the island seeks to make a bigger play in the global shipping industry.
Cummins gave brief remarks during Friday’s launch of Women in Maritime Association Caribbean (WiMAC) Barbados Chapter at the Radisson Aquatica Resort. She said now is the time for local companies to expand their reach into more developed international markets, in order to have greater influence on the global supply networks.
“Why is there no shipping company that is not an intermediary that is a global entity, owned by Barbadian capital? Why is there no nearshoring off of Miami in particular, owned by Barbadian capital, that takes control of a larger percentage of the supply chain? How do we remove intermediaries in terms of the ownership, not just locally, but taking Barbadian expertise who have come through the industry for a really long time? I want to be able to see that expertise, that skill, and the many people who I see in this room who I know are in the industry. I want to see your skills globalized with access to capital,” Cummins said.
She added that with the cost of goods being heavily affected by influence on the global supply chain whenever there are economic challenges, it’s incumbent upon stakeholders in the maritime space to become majority shareholders in key areas if the island is to better control the costs of imported goods. “Barbados and Barbadians and Barbadian companies must not be afraid to lead globally. We must lead, Barbados must be in front of the curb, and I must throw the challenge out to you tonight. Be a part of the solution to the cost of living issues facing our people, by becoming part of the ownership class of the global maritime shipping industry, and the supply chain where you are at the top, not the bottom, not in the middle, not in the lower stage, but at the very top of the maritime shipping community,” she said. “I want to be able to ensure that certainly in the Bridgetown Port, that this is a conversation with the entire shipping community that I intend to have very early up in the next couple of weeks.” (SB)