St. Maarten Harbor Chief discusses lower prices with Dutch Representative

POSTED: 08/19/11 12:16 PM

St. Maarten – Chief Executive Officer of the Harbor Group Mark Mingo has lobbied for pooling resources between St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius to buy food and other commodities with the Head of the Dutch Representation for Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten Gerard van der Wulp and Dutch Representative in St. Maarten Marcie Jonkers. The matter was one of several points the three men discussed during a meeting at the Harbor on Wednesday that was requested by the Dutch Representation.
Van der Wulp raised the matter of cooperation in this area because of the high food and commodity prices in Saba and St. Eustatius. This is linked in part to the high shipping costs. Mingo believes that if St. Maarten and the two Dutch public entities pool resources and buy in volume it would lead to lower bulk shipping costs. Those savings could then be passed on to the consumer.
“St. Maarten is already a transshipment hub for the surrounding islands and is perfectly positioned to expand its services. The completion of a warehouse for loose cargo is another incentive to work together,” Mingo said in the meeting.
Working together on lowering food and commodity prices is only one part of Mingo’s broader vision for sharing expertise and expanding commercial activity between the three islands. Other areas would be NuStar Terminal selling fuel to cruise ships in St. Maarten and collaboration between NuStar, the harbor group and utilities company GEBE to come to better pricing and bulk purchase of fuel.

Van der Wulp and Jonkers also requested detailed information on the plans to construct a causeway in the Simpson Bay Lagoon. In response to a question on whether the government would be the one to finance the causeway Mingo made clear that the project would be financed by the Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority Corporation (SLAC) once it has been approved by Parliament.

The meeting also allowed Mingo to give van der Wulp and Jonkers an overview of the harbor group’s core business with the cruise lines and shipping including the spin off for Saba and St. Eustatius and his hopes for developing more concrete working relationships with Saba, St. Eustatius and eventually Bonaire.

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