**Sen. the Hon. Dion Foulkes
Minister of Maritime Affairs & Labour**
Minister Foulkes says the Ministry of Maritime Affairs is committed to the continued growth and development of the Port of Nassau, *“an invaluable part of the socio-economic development of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.”*
Representatives from the Ministry met recently with a visiting team from the Port of Palm Beach, with which the Port of Nassau shares many similarities according to the Minister. *”The similarities shared between the two Ports provide us both with, I believe, a great opportunity to share expertise in a number of areas including cruise shipping, port security and containerized shipping, that will ensure the future growth and development of both Ports.”*
Minister Foulkes pointed out that establishment of linkages in economic sectors is one of the new Government’s objectives, as outlined in Manifesto ’07, and that the relationship between the Port of Palm Beach and the Port of Nassau could play a key role in expanding economic linkages.
Closer ties with the Port of Palm Beach could also assist The Bahamas in its ongoing efforts to expand its ship registry. The Bahamas Ship Registry is one of the world’s most prestigious and currently is globally ranked as the 3rd largest, with merchant ships representing some 35 million gross tons. Mr. Wayne Richards, Chairman of the Board of the Port of Palm Beach confirmed that discussions with local officials included the boosting of the Bahamian flag registry at the Port. Other items of common interest discussed were hurricane preparedness, security and the sharing of technology.
Minister Foulkes envisages talks with other port officials, including those throughout the Caribbean, as part of his Ministry’s plans going forward.