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Bahamas: Shipping industry 'gone through hell'

Thursday, 16 February 2012 | 00:00
The past three years have been "hell" for the shipping industry, to Arawak Port Development (APD) chief executive Mike Maura Jr said yesterday, adding that he did not believe carriers would pull out of Nassau "any time soon" given the container volume the $2.6 billion Baha Mar project is expected to generate.
Mr Maura told Tribune Business: "Within shipping it has been a very difficult time for all of the carriers. They are expected to arrive on time, invest in their equipment, meet the demand of the public, the grocery stores, hotel properties and so forth, but they haven't been given the benefit of any kind of reasonable increase each of the last six years.
"They are in a very desperate state. Here we come along and introduce our tariff, and they will not only be looking to take care or recover any additional expenses associated with our Port, but they are going to be looking to recover a small portion of the money they have lost over the last several years."
Mr Maura said the saturated Nassau shipping market was concerning. "If the carriers that were serving the market were all coming here 85 per cent full, the rates would be higher than they are today," he added.
"The fact is you have carriers coming into the Nassau market, and collectively they might only be 55 per cent full, which means that 45 per cent of the ships are empty. That means that they are still fighting like hell amongst themselves for freight. In most markets what that would tell you is there is the potential for one to pull out. One of them could pull out and the others would be able to carry the volume covering the market."
Mr Maura said, however, that he did not believe any of the carriers servicing Nassau would pull out soon.
He explained: "They have come through the worst of it. The last three years have been hell on the shipping industry. The reality here is that Nassau is one of a few destinations that's got something to brag about, and with the Baha Mar project having started I do not believe any carrier is going to pull out anyt ime soon with what's on the horizon with that project."
Source: Tribune 242
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