New Economic Commission for Latin America report suggests a Trinidad-Guyana-Suriname ferry route as a highly viable means of transport among the CARICOM nations, under the right conditions.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA) recently conducted a study which proposed four routes for regional ferry systems under a study titled “Proposal for the implementation of a ferry service through Public Private Partnerships in the Eastern Caribbean Region.”
Associate Economic Affairs Officer of ECLAC’s Infrastructure Services Unit in the International Trade and Integration Division, Diogo Aita, who prepared the report, believes that the most viable route in the Trinidad-Guyana-Suriname route.
The document states that this route leaves the best profit margins for the service as it would be the most economical to operate.
This proposed ferry system can be cheaper than airfares with the utilisation of slower vessels.
The document states that the operating costs for the faster ships are high, above all, due to the extra fuel needed. It does however go on to explain that the benefits of using faster vessels may outweigh the higher cost.
Aita states however, that the establishment of these ferry routes will only be possible with the upgrading of wharves.
Another challenge is the high cost of transport between CARICOM countries, which has long been a major constraint facing regional food production, distribution and consumption.
Aita further states that the Caribbean ferry project will not be viable unless the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas is examined to identify opportunities for improvement, allowing for the entry of work vehicles such as cargo trucks and ensuring free transit.
Aita suggests that customs and immigration regulations for the flow of goods and people should be reviewed and improved to speed up the process and reduce transaction costs.
Barbados, who have been progressing in bilateral relations for food production and supply, were not included in any of the four routes proposed.
The document states that routes have been identified based on the profitability of each route per vessel as economic results of the implementation of the ferry service, without adding public benefits or any positive externalities for the impacted population.