Friday, April 12, 2024

Vision to make Barbados transshipment hub

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Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley believes Barbados can be the hub of transshipment to the African and South American markets.

Mottley was speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, the second day of the Estimates Debate to discuss the Appropriation Bill 2023. In her opinion, it is imperative that Barbados leverages its geographical location in order to grow the economy.

“It is quicker to travel from Barbados to Accra, Buenos Aires, Dhaka, Sao Paulo and many other cities in that area than it is to travel from here to London,” Mottley said, “yet we have between 25 to 27 flights a week to the United Kingdom. That is a result of the historical nurturing of that market.”

The Prime Minister noted that on a recent trip to Argentina, she was surprised to find out how affordable it was for the average Barbadian, citing that a meal at a top restaurant in Buenos Aires would be similar in cost to a one from Barbeque Barn.

Mottley said that she envisioned Barbados’ future as a “domicile of choice and a hub of maritime and air logistics for cargo, as much as people” saying that “if you look at where we are to the south of the Caribbean and what’s happening in Guyana and Brazil and the landlocked aspects of the latter, the opportunities are there”.

Minister of Tourism Ian Gooding-Edghill outlined his ministry’s plans to achieve the Prime Minister’s goal saying: “We believe as part of the strategy, we have to put resources behind the gateway, and by doing so, we will build out the required soft infrastructure to make Barbados that hub.”

He continued: “With respect to aviation, we have received interest from multiple airlines out of the African continent who would want to fly into Barbados and there are one or two airlines who will want to create a flight plan from Africa into Barbados and from there onwards to London or the United States of America.

“The beautiful thing of having the updated Air Services Agreement is that these agreements would allow the airline or any potential airline to not only fly to Barbados unencumbered but also drop, pick and move onto to any point in between or endpoint.”

Gooding Edghill also said there were talks with interested parties to see how the Grantley Adams International Airport could be built out as a hub.  (JC)

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