Grand Bahama gets exposure at Seatrade Global Conference


Tribune Freeport Reporter

GRAND Bahama was well represented at this year's Seatrade Global Conference receiving significant exposure as a major cruise and maritime centre, with a Carnival executive promoting its new proposed cruise port as one of the largest port investments by the company in Freeport.

State Minister for Grand Bahama Senator Kwasi Thompson and others at the Office of the Prime Minister attended the conference held last week in Miami, Florida, for some 11,000 persons in the cruise and maritime industry.

During one of the opening sessions about the rise of female leadership in the cruise industry, Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Lines, spoke about the proposed development in Freeport, said Minister Thompson.

According to the minister, Duffy said that for the first time in Carnival's history it would be investing significantly in one of the largest port investments to date in Freeport. He said that the executive spoke of the major impact the development would have on Freeport, and its citizens.

Carnival Corporation plans to invest $100m to develop a cruise port in East Grand Bahama that would be able to accommodate two 6,000 passenger cruise ships at the same time. The port would bring some 1 million passengers annually to the island, and revive the stagnant economy of Grand Bahama.

Mr Thompson said: "It was very exciting for us when GB was mentioned on a world stage for cruise line development and a cruise port."

He noted that the conference provided an opportunity to promote GB as a maritime centre at the world's largest cruise and maritime conference.

Two companies from Freeport – the Grand Bahama Shipyard and Fowlco Marine and Logistics – were among the 700 booth participants this year.

"We are very pleased we had a good representation, Minister Thompson said. I was pleased we had continuing discussions with executives from the cruise lines and persons in the maritime industry."

He noted that Grand Bahama is uniquely suited as a maritime centre, not just with industrial investments such as the shipyard and container port, but also as a leading cruise port destination with proposed developments by Carnival Corporation, and Royal Caribbean International and the ITM Group

The minister said that they were able to speak to over 100 executives in the cruise line and maritime industry, as well as customers, partners, and sub-contractors attending a function hosted by the GB Shipyard at this year's conference.

"We were promoting GB as a place where the industry that supports the shipyard could be built. We spoke to persons who outfit cabins of cruise ships, those who prepare engines while the ship is in dock and to subcontractors encouraging them to set up their businesses in GB.

Mr Thompson believes that this would create much needed employment for Bahamians.

"It is an industry Bahamians have not yet tapped into; it was important to speak to those persons and promote GB as a place they can come and set up businesses to hire and train Bahamians to do that kind of important work," he said.

He also noted that they were pleased that representatives of the Grand Bahama Port Authority and the Ministry of Tourism were also present.