To be able to understand the current and future challenges in container port capacity in the Caribbean, it is essential to take into account the geographical setting of the region as a ‘conglomerate’ of countries in a discontinuous geography, where any port development strategy will be challenged by regional competitors. Furthermore the position of the Caribbean within the global container shipping network is influenced by two contrasting situations: its immediacy to main global shipping routes and its embeddedness to serve the economies of small island states.
Thus, the Caribbean provides a situation where port throughput in many cases is not related to the actual economic development, but depends on trade development between other regions, routing decisions of shipping lines, and investment decisions of private terminal operators. This biased situation and the restructuring of global container shipping networks towards a hierarchical hub poses significant threats and challenges, especially for the smaller islands.
In this context, the adverse development in capacity deployment and growing discrepancies between main lines and traditional interisland shipping poses significant challenges for the region. Local and regional carriers continue to play a major role in local trade. But they are threatened by the global shipping alliances because of economies of scale; small regional carriers cannot compete in price with large alliances.
PortEconomics associate member Gordon Wilmsmeier and Ricardo J. Sanchez (United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN-ECLAC), Santiago, Chile) argue on port infrastructure expansion as a major concern in the Caribbean basin and the necessary to differentiate the prospective development of the markets that are attended by different geographic regions of the basin on their on their viewpoint published in Port Technolgy International [issue 64].
You may freely download and read the article @PortEconomics.eu.