Maritime industry leaders from around the world gathered in Grand Cayman on Monday for the fourth annual Cayman Islands Shipping Summit, which also kicked off the first Cayman Maritime Week.
The summit, organized by Mare Forum and OreCoal, is under way at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, bringing together industry experts, ship owners and operators, yacht managers and brokers, and other professionals for presentations and networking events, while showcasing some of the advantages of doing business in the Cayman Islands.
“It’s a momentous day in the history of the Cayman Islands and for Cayman shipping,” said Sherice Arman, president of the Cayman Islands chapter of the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association.
Ms. Arman, who is also a member of the organizing committee, said the event has been 20 years in the making and is the culmination of “an intense year of planning.”
Premier Alden McLaughlin, who welcomed attendees at the opening on Monday morning, said the event is unique in that it brings both shipping and yachting industry leaders together, allowing for a “more diverse and broader exchange of ideas and discussion.”
With this event, Mr. McLaughlin said, “Cayman is leveraging its highly respected shipping registration and flag and showing the international maritime industry leaders … that we are a growing hub of maritime activity.”
The premier noted Cayman’s rich maritime history, saying that although seafaring is no longer a major occupation of Caymanians, the jurisdiction has “maintained an enviable position in shipping” as a crossroads to the Americas and with a strong shipping registry, which was recognized last month by the International Chamber of Shipping as “top of class” in its 2015-2016 annual Flag State Performance Table. The registry is one of only 15 flag states to achieve such a distinction, Premier McLaughlin said.
He added that the introduction of the Cayman Maritime Services Park enables businesses in the industry to “efficiently and cost-effectively” set up a physical presence in the islands.
“Cayman is actively creating a global maritime cluster that enables those in the maritime industry to take advantage of all the benefits our world-class jurisdiction has to offer,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “It is our hope that you will be convinced to bring your business to our shores.”
Speakers and panelists spent the day discussing a variety of issues relating to the shipping industry from both a global and local perspective.
During the first session, on geopolitical considerations, panelists discussed the importance of making a concerted effort to better protect the environment, measures to prevent the loss of containers, and the state of the shipping market overall, among other topics.
Other sessions of the Mare Forum will address topics related to marine infrastructure, safety and port and coastal monitoring in Caribbean waters; yachting services and the competitive advantages of varying yacht markets; and advantages and disadvantages of doing business offshore, particularly in the Cayman Islands.
Cayman Maritime Week continues Tuesday with a seminar on the state of the marine environment, featuring local marine biologist and artist Guy Harvey. The seminar is hosted by the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association and the North American Marine Environment Protection Association.
On Wednesday, the final day of the “week,” the Digital Ship Maritime CIO Forum will address the role of IT and communications in the shipping industry, with a special focus on technology and innovation.