Shipping association launches Canada-funded export project By Mark Ramotar
Guyana Chronicle
December 10, 2003

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THE Shipping Association (Guyana) Inc. (SAG) yesterday launched a major Canadian-funded Institutional Strengthening and Capacity Building Project that seeks to enhance the export competitiveness of Guyana's economy through significant enhancement in standards and efficiency of the local maritime transport sector.

According to President of SAG, Mr. Clinton Williams, this will be done via institutional strengthening of the Shipping Association of Guyana, training for personnel in the industry, benchmark and certification for the Maritime Administration Department as well as ensuring enactment of required Legislation.

Williams told reporters yesterday it is envisaged that, as a result of this project, Guyana's shipping industry will be in a position to confirm to the International Maritime Organization Regulations and Standards for which it has acceded; that there would be significant improvement in the relationship between members of the shipping association and exporters and importers; improved quality and cost efficiency of commodity transport and that the Maritime Administration Department would be strengthened and certified.

The project, estimated at approximately Cdn$200,000, is intended to provide training, institutional strengthening and capacity building support to the Shipping Association of Guyana and affiliated agencies, the Guyana Maritime Administration Department and the Customs Division of Guyana Revenue Authority, among others.

The project also entails institutional support towards the strengthening of the Shipping Association inclusive of mechanisms that will enable it to continue operating and to provide quality training and other services to the maritime industry; to make the Association members and other operators within the sector aware of and complaint with local, regional and international conventions governing the shipping industry; and to facilitate study tours to the Caribbean Shipping Association (of which the Shipping Association of Guyana is a member) and other established Regional Associations for Executives to have a first hand look at the structure, management and operations of these associations.

It also entails developing a database and establish information systems on the shipping industry's capacity and cargo movement fro use by relevant agencies such as the Maritime Administration Department; the Guyana Revenue Authority (Customs Division); Ministry of International Trade; Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce; Environmental Protection Agency; Guyana National Bureau of Standards; Municipalities; Ministry of Regional Development; Operators within the Shipping Industry and other sub-sectors for which the industry provide a service.

Third Secretary (Development) in the Canadian High Commission, Mr. Vishal Kapur, noted that Canada has a long history of partnership with Guyana, and indicated that Canada has been involved in many facets of the social and economic development of the region.

He said this particular project, the Institutional Strengthening of the Shipping Association of Guyana, promises to further contribute to the enhancing of Guyana's competitiveness internationally.

"Guyana is a coastal country, with a very strong export orientation (and) linkages with the Caribbean and beyond are therefore intricately tied to the quality of services provided at the various ports and points of entry," Kapur recognized.

In this regard, he said, he expects that this project will help Guyana become a stronger actor in regional and international trade.