Caribbean Port Management Workshop a unique regional event
The cover of the 11th edition (February 2018) of Portside Caribbean magazine screamed success. It is our assessment of the recent Caribbean Port Management Workshop in Panama in January. The workshop, initially expected to attract participation of approximately 50 port management personnel and topic presenters, had over 70 registered participants.
The success of this joint venture between Portside Caribbean, the Port Management Association of the Caribbean (PMAC) and the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) was not to be measured by numbers of participants only, but by their comments. An informal post-event survey, on site, showed an overwhelmingly positive response from participants. The comments made it clear. Participants felt that their attendance was worthwhile; that the content was meaningful. And, in the context of the most recent and partcularly tragic hurricane season of 2017, that this annual event was essential for port authorities and marine facility owners; port planners and designers; and, port management personnel.
But, the workshop was more than an international event, efficiently delivered and well received. It was not just another conference. In the broader context of history, it marked the anchor point of a process to create a new, apolitical regional forum of decision-makers, bent on managing sustainable development.
As a concept, the Caribbean Port Management Workshop sought to engage all levels of regional port management in a three day exercise of interaction, experience and dialogue.
- Philosophically, the workshop was built on the notion that, in the normal course of development, in fair weather and in recovery from disasters, the port is the critical component.
- The concept embraced non-traditional methods of information exchange; two-way communication techniques; and, where possible, a hands-on, shirtsleeves, learning experience. The planning team often recited the line ‘workshop, not talk shop’.
- The mission was to create a new and unique channel for discussion and exchange of best practices.
Sustainable development is at the centre of the editorial philosophy of Portside Caribbean and the promotion of this event is therefore a sacred corporate commitment on the part of this magazine.
In this context, we applaud the sponsorship support of the inaugural (2018) event by the Port Management Association of the Caribbean, the Caribbean Maritime University, Suriname Port Management Company and Saam Smit Towage. And we owe Manzanillo International Terminal a debt of gratitude for being a very gracious host. The faith and confidence of these companies in the annual Caribbean Port Management Workshop was justified. 
- First published February 1, 2018