Alabama, Cuba to strengthen maritime ties

Alabama, Cuba to strengthen maritime ties

The Alabama State Port Authority and the National Port Administration of Cuba signed a five-year, cooperative agreement to collaborate in port and cargo marketing studies and strategies, engage in promotion and exhibition activities, and share data.

“We are seeing increasing demand for normalized trade between the United States and Cuba, and it is our goal to foster relationships between the ports and their maritime communities to further changes in U.S. Cuban trade policy and facilitate improved ocean carriage services to the benefit of our shippers,” James K. Lyons, chief executive officer of the Alabama State Port Authority, said.

In October 2016, the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) eased the rule that prohibits a vessel that calls Cuba from entering a U.S. port within 180 days of its departure from Cuba.

While the amendment may allow vessel operators to efficiently deploy their vessels and avoid the 180-day waiting period, ocean carriers must nonetheless comply with all other U.S. restrictions in order to take advantage of the amended rule.

Ocean carries engaged in sanctioned trade between Cuba and the United States can take advantage of the 180-day rule waiver. In addition, ships originating from worldwide ports and transiting through Cuba can take advantage of the waiver as long as the carrier does not load non-sanctioned cargoes bound for the U.S.

U.S. sanctioned trade between Alabama and Cuba principally include poultry and forest products.