A top official from the Bahamas government apprised the Bahamas shipping registry was likely to show strong growth in future at a pace of 8-10 percent per annum. The Bahamian Minister of Environment Earl Deveaux substantiated his claim by stating that the Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) had “achieved all goals for last year.
Deveaux who is in charge of the BMA told Tribune Business that key reforms adopted over the past year were essential in ensuring the global shipping and yachting industries to see the Bahamas as “the best option” for themselves and their clients. He further added global shipping industry was expanding rapidly in South-East Asia, Africa and South America, and the location (geographical proximity) of the Bahamas strengthened the fact that it would grow along with the global industry.
The minister pointed out reforms enacted earlier this year had left the BMA with “a fee schedule that was very competitive”, and changes including waiving the registration fee for new ship-owners and providing incentives ranging from a one-third to 60 percent reduction in fees for owners registering multiple ships. The BMA had also improved its “overall position vis-à-vis competitors such as the Marshall Islands and Malta,” he added.
However, he admitted that the price competitiveness and other measures were aimed at ensuring the merchant fleet, the cruise fleet and the increasingly important yacht fleet to see the Bahamas as the best option, and not giving incentives to lawyers, accountants and wealth managers to steer people away from the Bahamas because the country was perceived as too slow or too expensive.
Last month, Hubert Ingraham, the prime minister of the Bahamas stopped by at Hong Kong on his way to China to officially inaugurate the first BMA office in the Asian and Pacific region. He then had told the office would serve as a springboard to increase the Bahamian ship registry while promoting and attracting foreign investment in other areas.
By tweaking the shipping registry business, the Bahamas envisions to attract investments in tourism sector and financial services, besides maritime services. Deveaux informed the BMA Board was due to meet this week to set targets and goals for 2011.
By Jose Roy
An International Initiative for Global Trade