MIAMI – There is need for the authorities in the United States to more stringently enforce the regulations which would curtail the operations of illegal consolidators in the shipping industry who, among other things, ship hazardous materials with no regard for the regulations.
This call for coordinated action among agencies such as the Federal Maritime Commission, the Department of Transportation, the Transportation Security Administration and the US Customs was made Tuesday by Mr. Glen Khan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Laparkan Group of Companies during a panel discussion on transportation at the just concluded 33rd annual Miami Conference on the Caribbean.
Noting that the shipping industry is highly regulated, Mr. Khan said that “despite this high degree of regulation there is still a significant amount of illegality which is very pervasive. The authorities do not have the necessary resources to enforce the regulations in a holistic way. One example of this illegality is the fact that some licensed Ocean Transport Intermediaries act as fronts for illegal consolidators and hazardous materials are shipped with no regard for the regulations.
“It is therefore incumbent on the industry and the regulators to find a common solution. This can be achieved with a collaborative approach among legitimate businesses, the regulators and regulatory agencies in the destination countries,” he said. He also pointed out that “there is stringency in both passenger and air cargo operations and this can be extended to the ocean cargo segment of the business.”
The Laparkan chairman also spoke of the need to take full advantage of Florida being the gateway to South and Central America and the Caribbean.
“There are constraints to a number of perishable commodities coming through our gateway for movement to the Northeast and other corridors. This can easily be facilitated by putting a quarantine facility at Miami International Airport which will protect Florida as an agriculture State and also provide good economics for our cargo carriers,” Mr. Khan said.
He also advocated the setting up of a free zone in Florida to service especially Latin America and the Caribbean. Such a zone could be anchored by the activities of major companies such as Walmart and Home Depot which enjoy cost advantages which could not be enjoyed by importers in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“It is my view that the Government of the State of Florida and the Federal Government should convene a meeting with vested interest players such as large importers, port operators, shipping lines, all cargo operators, airlines, bankers and others with the ultimate objective of building miles and miles of warehouse for a free zone to service South America, Central America and the Caribbean. Some of the stimulus funds could be used for such a program as this will create thousands of jobs,’” Mr. Khan stressed.
The three-day conference also discussed issues related to security, narcotics and weapons trafficking, financial services including money transfer and social and economic conditions in several countries in the Caribbean basin including Haiti and Jamaica. Among those participating in the conference were Haiti’s Prime Minister Mr. Jean Max Bellerive, Canada’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Mr. Peter Kent, Jamaica’s Finance Minister Mr. Audley Shaw and US Assistant Secretary of Commerce Dr. Walter Bastian.