New Martinique cluster program unveiled at Panama shipping conference

Martinique's port, a hub of activity in the Caribbean

Martinique’s port, a hub of activity in the Caribbean

Fort-De-France, Martinique (October 10, 2013) – “Clustergates,” a newly formed public-private initiative, targeted to the Caribbean, was showcased by Martinique at a major shipping conference held in Panama City, Panama October 7-9, 2013.. The Cluster GAT Caraïbes Logistique et Transports or GAT Caribbean, a group of transportation companies and public sector organizations based in Martinique, participated for the first time at the 43rd Annual General Meeting of the Caribbean Shipping Association’s (CSA) Conference and Exhibition event.

GAT Caribbean, whose mission focuses not just on Martinique, but also on the greater Caribbean and the Americas, is encouraging public and private sector members to join the cluster to create, design and share future solutions that benefit the sustainable development of the transport and logistics industry. This regional network hopes to boost growth by capitalizing on the increased passenger and freight traffic anticipated from the major expansion of the Panama Canal in 2015.

In conjunction with the modernized Port of Martinique, one of the biggest natural harbors in the region, and with the support of Martinique’s Regional Council, GAT Caribbean is preparing the French Overseas Department to become a major Caribbean hub and “Gateway to Europe in the Americas” in the new post-Panamax era. With support of the Regional Council, which has a keen interest in integrating Martinique with the wider Caribbean, GAT Caribbean is hoping to become a major player in global transport and logistics negotiations that directly affect the globalization of the regional economy.

One of the tools to be developed by GAT Caribbean is “Clustergates” a marketplace grouping of both freight and passengers that will match demand and supply and optimize the flux of increased traffic into the greater Caribbean and the Americas. The cluster’s regional network will further create a dynamic exchange between bigger clusters across the greater Caribbean, the Americas, France and Europe. More than 300 shipping executives from across the Americas participated in the CSA meeting in Panama City, leading to a successful event.

The Cluster Groupement Antillais de Transport Caraïbes Logistique & Transport or GAT Caribbean was created in December 2012 at the initiative of private sector companies of the transportation and logistics sector in Martinique, and then other private and public sector companies and organizations and the Regional Council of Martinique. GAT Caribbean member companies fully benefit from resources and innovative solutions that result from sector studies and research projects in connection with organizations involved in training and research on behalf of the cluster.

All cluster members are considered an essential link in the value chain, and therefore help design, model and disseminate solutions for transport and logistics, sustainable development, not only for Martinique but also to the benefit of the Caribbean region.Annual objectives include a freight exchange solution for the Caribbean (in the Americas and to Europe), the development of ICT solutions for transport and logistics, business tools to improve logistics performance, and the use of “inter modality” for both freight and passenger transport.

The Port of Martinique is one of the biggest natural harbors in the region, with a draft of up to 17 meters (56 feet) deep, which with its modern infrastructure has all the potential to become a leading regional hub and gateway to Europe in the Americas. Through support of the Regional Council and a major investment of 70 million €uros (approximately US$95 million), the Port of Martinique is presently being renovated and modernized to handle post-Panamax vessels of up to 13,000 TEUs.

For more information on the cluster, please visit .www.clustergatcaraibes.com.