Study on Port and Maritime Strategies for the Greater Caribbean

Project ID: 
Financed by: 
Agence Française de Développement - French Development Agency


The Association of Caribbean States (ACS), established in 1994 by the Cartagena Treaty, brings together the countries of the “Greater Caribbean” and has made transport a key focus of its strategy in order to support the modernisation, harmonisation and rationalisation of the policies and infrastructure required for transport services in the region.

In a globalised world, the growing intensity of trade has brought about changes in maritime transport and port infrastructure. Since more than 90% of the goods traded at the international level are transported by sea, this mode of transport and its supply chain now play a key role in the development of countries of the Greater Caribbean. Transportation costs are increasingly important in determining the final price of goods.

In this context, pursuant to the outcome of the 21st Meeting of the Special Committee on Transport, held on 20-21 September 2012 in Trinidad and Tobago and in accordance with the work programme established during said meeting, the ACS has executed the project Study of Port and Maritime Strategies for the Greater Caribbean.

For many of these Caribbean countries, it is important to adjust the existing infrastructure to the new realities and challenges posed by regional and international integration processes, enabling it, in particular, to effectively sustain the increase in traffic that is expected to result from the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2016, without underestimating the risks of overcapacity of facilities and volatility of transhipment traffic.

The ACS, which, since 2011, has been the beneficiary of a special study fund provided by the French Development Agency (AFD), considers that the first stage of this project should be the development of a strategic analysis of the maritime sector, traffic and stakeholders in the Greater Caribbean.


Assess the market for container port terminals and identify associated market needs and risks, based primarily on the growing competition among facilities: risk of overcapacity of facilities, risks related to the volatility of transhipment traffic. To this purpose, the Consultant has conducted a study that meets the following five objectives

1. Assessment of container traffic in the Greater Caribbean (all origins and destinations)

2. Evaluate the likely future evolution of traffic in terms of volume of containers number of stops and types of ships and services

3. Give an account of port facilities that handle container traffic

4. Review investment project in the sector

5. Conduct a SWOT analysis of the existing and projected terminals where competition exists among them

Subsequent to discussions with Member States and the sector’s various stakeholders, the analysis will facilitate the prioritisation of actions to be developed in order to optimise transportation costs and conditions in the region and strengthen economic activity resulting from maritime transport activities in the Greater Caribbean.



The firm Maritime & Transport Business Solutions B.V. of the Netherlands was the Consultant selected following the procurement process. The Consultant commenced work on the 17th of March 2014 and presented the Draft Final Report on the 4th of July 2014. The Final Report will be delivered in August 2014.



The Association of Caribbean States in collaboration with the ‘Sociedad Portuaria Regional de Cartagena’ hosted the Seminar on Port and Maritime Strategies in the Greater Caribbean in Cartagena, Colombia on July 11th, 2014. The Seminar was attended by persons in the port and maritime sector from Antigua and Barbuda, Colombia, Cuba, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Haiti, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Panama. The Final Report of the Study is expected in August 2014 and will be disseminated to Member States and port and maritime stakeholders within the Greater Caribbean.


The ACS through the Directorate for Transport and Disaster Risk Reduction will continue to facilitate intra-regional cooperation in the area of port development and shipping in keeping with its mandate “Uniting the Caribbean by Air and Sea”. A presentation of this study will be featured at the XXIII Meeting of the Special Committee on Transport which is scheduled to be held on October 1st 2014 in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago and will seek to continue this discussion among Member States.



Project Duration: March 2014 to August 2014 (6 months)

Cost: €125,000 (US$ 158,567.50)



The institutions partnering with the ACS in the implementation of the project were the Central American Commission on Maritime Transport (COCATRAM), the Ministry of Transport of Cuba (MITRANS) and the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP).