BUSINESS MONDAY - Barbados Port set for ‘wave of innovation’

A ‘wave of innovation’ is set to hit the Bridgetown Port.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Sonia Foster, highlighted the facility is seeking to address additional capacity constraints on four fronts,
including: the development of port infrastructure; the enhancement of productivity and efficiency; the development of green technology; and the promotion of digital solutions and innovation.

In the area of port infrastructure development, she highlighted that the 2020-2030 Master Plan, which is set to be completed this month, would review the cargo and passenger volume projections into 2030, give an assessment of capacity needs for berths and other facilities in each core business area, identify costs and development of a pro forma financial model showing the impacts of the works on the port, develop a marketing plan to sustain the projected work and a land use plan showing the conceptual ‘new’ port layout.

“The Master Plan will define the major elements of the port’s infrastructural build out over the next ten years. The preliminary work presented so far highlights the need for cruise and cargo facilities expansion, as well as requirements for additional bulk handling infrastructure. Opportunities are also there to expand facilities for small pleasure craft,” she said.

Delivering a speech on behalf of Minister Kirk Humphrey during the opening of a Barbados Trade Logistics Supply Chain Workshop last week, she also highlighted a process mapping exercise had been conducted to help achieve operational efficiency by identifying faults and bottle necks, as well as to help shape the future state of the port.

“Once fully deployed, customers can expect better service quality at the Commercial Cargo Shed 4. Lean Six Sigma is a world recognised process for obtaining improvement in workflows, and for us sets the stage for a larger undertaking at the national level,” she told the audience at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Regarding green technology and the port’s aim to “be the most innovative, green maritime hub in the world by 2030”, Forde pointed out the Commonwealth Secretariat Study would move to identify global trends in environmentally sustainable port logistics and recommend ways in which these can be incorporated into the its 10-year strategy.

“BPI is also collaborating with the Inter American Development Bank (IDB Invest) with respect to funding for the acquisition of a new Waste to Energy system with a capacity to accommodate waste generated in Port, as well as some inland municipal waste. Three technologies were considered and examined: Incineration, Pyrolysis and Gasification. According to a report from the IDB technical experts, incineration was determined to be the most stable and easiest solution to implement. It is expected not only to manage Port waste, but also to generate enough energy to account for 20 per cent of the port’s current energy needs,” Forde continued.

In terms of digitisation, she spoke on the benefits of the Maritime Single Window in facilitating the submission of the relevant lists through a single portal, for review and processing by the vessel boarding agencies, namely, Customs, Immigration, maritime, port and health authorities.

“The single window will allow for the submission of standardised information covered by the Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic Convention to a single entry point. The main benefit of the window is that it will allow timely review and processing of vessel information and facilitate electronic clearance of vessels. For cruise vessels in particular, it will alleviate the delays caused when there are multiple ships in port at any one time, waiting to be cleared. This level of automation will greatly reduce the data entry required from clearance officers and thus reduce the length of a clearance transaction,” she added.


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