Mr. Ramalingum Maistry, Chairman, led a delegation to London consisting of representatives from the Port Users’ Council and the shipping community. This mission was the result of a visit to Mauritius of the Lord Mayor of the City of London earlier in March this year. The MPA has embarked on a series of development projects at Port Louis Harbour aimed at modernising the port infrastructure and facilities and to add more capacity to meet the fast expanding maritime trade. The purpose of the visit to London was therefore to meet with the UK maritime service providers and identify potential areas of cooperation.
To facilitate this collaboration, the Maritime London (ML) and the Society of Maritime Industries (SMI) co-organised a B2B session on July 5 held at the Baltic Exchange, during which the seven representatives from Mauritius had an opportunity to meet fourteen UK companies that had responded to the particular opportunities highlighted by the delegates in advance of the meeting. Following a highly informative video on the future direction of Port Louis Harbour by the Chairman, each of the UK delegates gave a five-minute presentation on what they had to offer to their Mauritian counterparts.
Mr. Doug Barrow, Chief Executive of Maritime London informed that this was the first time that members of ML and SMI had come together to demonstrate a significant section of the UK’s maritime offering. It demonstrated the strength of this sector and a highly comprehensive and competitive level of offering. It was really a fantastic meeting as it provided a golden opportunity for the Mauritian delegates to meet numerous stakeholders engaged in the very dynamic maritime and port sector.
According to Mr. John Murray of the SMI, the B2B meetings with the delegates from Mauritius succeeded on a number of levels, not least, because the delegates from Mauritius came with a specific list of business opportunities which enabled interaction with companies that met their requirements. It was also clear that there were synergies between the members of ML and SMI which meant that the UK could be presented as the best country to assist Mauritius with its ambition for the port and maritime sector.
The following day, on 6 July 2016, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed at the Mansion House, courtesy of the Lord Mayor, between Maritime London and the Society of Maritime Industries with the Mauritius Ports Authority and the Port Users’ Council. This MOU is a milestone towards the achievement of the Mauritius Ports Authority and the City of London’s efforts to boost mutual trade and investment. Port Louis and London are two cities from different continents, but connected by an intertwined history, prosperous trade partnerships, common values and economic interests. Not to mention many personal ties and friendships. A copy of the MOU is enclosed.
It is sure that together all parties concerned are going to achieve a lot of success within this cooperative framework which no doubt will enhance and stimulate steady growth of maritime traffic, exchange and training of staff from various maritime establishments, exchange of information necessary for accelerating and facilitating the flow of commercial goods at sea and at ports, establishment of joint ventures in the fields of port efficiency, environment and green port initiative.
His Excellency, Mr. Jonathan Drew, British High Commissioner, who helped organise the visit, said that business is right at the very heart of diplomacy, so the British High Commission in Mauritius was delighted to work with Maritime London and the Society of Maritime Industries to ensure that the signature of the MOU with the Mauritius Ports Authority and Mauritian maritime-focused companies was fruitful. By all accounts, the real seeds for potential partnerships and business were planted at the B2B meetings at the Baltic Exchange.
As arranged by Maritime London, the Chairman also met with Captain Syamantak Bhattacharya (PhD), Director, School of Maritime Science and Engineering, Southampton Solent University on 6 July 2016. Discussions were engaged with Capt. Bhattacharya on the establishment of a partnership with the Warsash Maritime Academy of the Southampton Solent University in the fields of green port initiative, marine engineering, maritime training, information technology including development of simulators and other related maritime activities.