THE WORKSHOPS TO REACH PUBLIC AND PRIVATE CONSENSUS ON THE PREPARATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ACTION PLAN FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF SHORT DISTANCE SEA TRANSPORTATION (SDST) IN MESO-AMERICA  HAVE STARTED.

In the city of Managua, Nicaragua, the first of several workshops is held, in order to seek public and private consensus on the topic of short distance sea transportation. This activity is organized by the Central American Commission of Maritime Transport (COCATRAM), in coordination with the Panama Maritime Authority and with logistical support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The overall objective of this activity is to review and validate, with the public and private sector, the roadmap for the implementation of the short distance sea transportation in Central America, in all ten countries of the project Meso-America (Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, Colombia and the Dominican Republic).


Specific objectives can be identified: To establish the quantitative and qualitative benefits of short distance sea transportation in Meso-America; to get feedback from the private sector concerning the main features of a SDST service that would encourage it to use this transport modality; to identify institutional obstacles (customs, phytosanitary, administrative, etc.) that make difficult the implementation of such service; to obtain proposals and recommendations from the private sector, which the public institutions involved may need for the effective implementation of the service.

The Panama Maritime Authority, coordinating body of this regional initiative, was represented by its Secretary General, Mr. Tomas Avila Manzanares and Mr. José Miguel Rovira, Deputy Director of the Office of Planning, who welcomed the participants on behalf of the institution and of the National Government; they also presented the project's background and scheduled the activities to be undertaken by each country in the development of all workshops.

The workshop was divided into two sections; the first one aims to lay the foundations in order to create the services; and the second one takes into account the recommendations of the first section. Both sections will have a plenary session where the five groups in which the participants were divided (users and owners of the cargo, shipping companies, port terminals, inland carriers and government institutions) will explain their reasons and recommendations.

We must highlight the fact that the workshops will be held in the facilities of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in each country. The IDB has financed the initial consultancy.

The host cities and dates for the workshops are: Managua, February 23 and 24, Mexico City February 26 and 27; Guatemala City March 2 and 3; San Salvador March 5 and 6; Belize March 9 and 10; Tegucigalpa March 12 and 13; San Jose 16 and 17 March; Panama City March 19 and 20; Bogotá 23 and 24 March; and finally, Santo Domingo 26 and 27 March.

N of the T: Mesoamerica is a region and cultural area in the Americas, extending approximately from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica, within which a number of pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries.