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High cost of Regional transportation must be addressed - ASG Slater

Dr.-Douglas-Slater

CARICOM - Georgetown, Guyana-  The issue of the high cost of regional air and sea transportation was one of the areas that had to be addressed in the realm of agriculture, said Dr. Douglas Slater, Assistant Secretary-General Human and Social Development, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture 2013, at the Guyana International Conference Centre, Dr. Slater said that it was not possible to deliberate on regional agriculture without dealing with the “still vexing issue of transportation in all its dimensions”.

He referred to the focus CARICOM Heads of placed on Transportation at their last meeting in July and the advice proffered to them by the Council for Trade and Economic Development on the issue of transportation of agriculture produce.

“The result has been the establishment of a Transportation Commission. Some of the issues we have to address relate to the high cost of regional air and sea transportation.  For example, freight costs between Antigua and Barbuda, and Guadeloupe and Martinique are twice as high as freight costs from France to Guadeloupe.

Further, the Special COTED on Transportation held earlier this year agreed that key stakeholders including the Caribbean Shipping Association, LIAT, producers and exporters meet to discuss the issue of availability of adequate transportation to move goods from one country to the next,” he said.