Business View Caribbean | April 2019

69 BUSINESS VIEW CARIBBEAN APRIL 2019 understand what tourists are looking for; not just cruise tourists, it’s the same for stayovers.” To enhance the cultural focus, a new commercial development plan for the Port is being rolled out to create a Central Park for exhibitions of local history, such as artefacts from the early salt mine industry in St. Maarten. Next on tap: Port facility infrastructure improvements. After two decades, a fresh look is in order, as well as a great deal of maintenance beyond the yearly routine work. Increased volume, closing in on two million people, requires optimizing passenger flow and traffic on port premises, feeding it onto the island. Those items are in the planning phase, now. Technology- wise, the underlying themes are a “smart” and “sustainable” Port. According to van Kooten, “IT Partner, has been instrumental in implementing GLS software – it’s an example of ‘smart’, where we look to further automation of information streams between cargo, cruise lines, port authorities, and local authorities. Capturing that in a Port community system means all those users have a single window to upload their data. That reduces the red tape and gives strong tools and analytical data to the relevant authorities on St. Maarten.” From a sustainable point of view, the Port is serious about renewable energy sources. “We have some solar but not enough,” says van Kooten. Wind energy is a viable option. We had six smaller PORT ST . MAARTEN GROUP OF COMPANI ES