With more than three decades of service to the nation behind it, The Grenada Ports Authority (GPA) is today better equipped than ever to play a major role in the economy of the nation.
Recent initiatives and investments by the GPA have been designed to boost Grenada's potential for cargo handling, the cruise sector and tourism. All of these bring direct benefits to the economy and people of the country.
The GPA played a crucial role in the island's recovery after Hurricane Ivan in 2004, handling most of the incoming relief and construction supplies. The Authority was also instrumental in restoring the cruise industry just two months later and providing a valuable injection of cash into the economy as the nation struggled to cope with the aftermath of the hurricane.
The Grenada Ports Authority is principally responsible for the administration and operation of the Port of St. George's. It also has jurisdiction over Prickly Bay, St. David's Harbour and Grenville, on the main island of Grenada, as well Tyrrel Bay, on the neighbouring island of Carriacou.
The GPA is a statutory organization controlled by the Minister of Finance who appoints the Chairman and Board of Directors. Its main functions are:
Since 2000 the GPA has had jurisdiction over all stevedores working in the port. The GPA provides a range of services including:
The GPA continues to be Grenada's focal point for international organizations in maritime matters. Its staff represents Grenada at regional and international conferences, most recently at the Transport Committee of the Association of Caribbean States, the Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control, the IOPC Funds, the IMO and the Organization of American States Committee on Ports.
As well as working with international organizations and local ports to promote better regional commerce and improved relations, the Authority plays a key role at home, in particular in public sector investment. Working with the Ministry of Finance, it draws up projects to develop the port and the environment, especially the coastal zone.
The GPA is actively involved in an outreach programme involving the local community. In recent years it has organized and sponsored a Coastal Zone Management Competition for primary schools. The Ports Authority has also sponsored the Carriacou Regatta Festival and has assisted young members of the Grenada Swimming Association. It also continues to support the Grenada Community Development Agency.
In addition, the GPA is represented on the national Sustainable Development Council which considers matters pertinent to the nation's long term sustainable development.
The past decade has seen many changes in the country's fortunes and these have been matched by the GPA's vision in developing its range of port services.
The initial phase of expanding the main port in the Carenage was followed by the adventurous development of the Melville Street Cruise Terminal.
In parallel with the new cruise terminal - and in a departure from the core business of the Port Authority - the GPA was heavily involved in the financing and operation of the Melville Street Bus Terminus as part of the wider Melville Street development.
Opened in 2005, the Terminus provides parking for 250 buses and was designed to ease traffic congestion in St George's. About US$ 4.0 million has been invested in this project.
The future looks bright for Grenada - thanks in no small part to the GPA's efforts over the past three decades in building the economy for the benefit of all islanders.
Whatever the future holds for Grenada, one thing is certain - the GPA will be leading from the front.