Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill on Tuesday outlined Guyana’s plans to become a more active player in the maritime industry, by leading the movement for more cooperation in the area of regional trade.
He was at the time addressing the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
The Minister highlighted the vision 25 by 2025 initiative as one that cannot be accomplished without becoming more active and efficient in maritime transport.
Under this initiative, the Caribbean aims to reduce the region’s large food import bill by 25% by 2025 to increase food security and reduce extra-regional agri-food imports.
Minister Edghill noted that regional trade helps to promote food security, which is severely affected by disruptions in shipping routes and price increases.
He noted that through the signing of the St. Barnabas Accord with Barbados, Guyana is making strides in food security by increasing exports to Barbados in beef; corn and soya; coconut and coconut products; fruits and vegetables; poultry and poultry products. Guyana has also been importing 1,000 artificially inseminated black belly sheep.
He also cited the importance of enhancing capabilities in maritime trade services to extend initiatives such as these to more nations.
“This is a monumental task and we cannot accomplish it alone, we require technology transfers as well as technical assistance in the areas of transport and trade facilitation solutions to make the suggested and necessary transition to smart and green trade logistics, and to enhance our transport infrastructure, particularly our ports.”
He noted that countries like Guyana are more affected by challenges in maritime trade since, currently, our imports outweigh our exports, and our consumers rely on goods from far-flung corners of the world.
“Globalisation has created a complex web, within which we are woven. Both the countries on the selling and receiving end of the goods spectrum are affected, of course, however, small developing economies with little to no influence within the global shipping arena face the brunt of the challenges”
He highlighted Guyana’s commitment to becoming more active in maritime trade since goods both originating from and being delivered within the same region, stand a better chance of being delivered within a timely manner, at a lower cost, and shorter travel routes.
This will also be better for the environment as it would allow a reduction in the number of cargo vessel trips, thereby reducing the production of greenhouse gases, should the right technology, trade facilitation, and port management practices be put in place.