The Port Of South Louisiana is planning to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the National Port Administration (NPAC) of Cuba in order to promote commerce and growth in both countries.
The proposed deal is the outcome of a recent visit made by Port of South Louisiana representatives and other representatives from Louisiana export facilities, rice growers, shipping businesses, as well as bankers and members of the Louisiana state legislature and Louisiana Economic Development to Cuba.
A year and a half ago, Cuba began operations at its new Port of Mariel on the western part of the country.
Port of South Louisiana executive director Paul Aucoin said: “I believe it is in our mutual interest to establish an alliance of cooperation so we can facilitate international trade by promoting the all-water route through the Port of South Louisiana and the ports of Cuba.
“In October, we intend to sign a memorandum of understanding with the National Port Administration of Cuba (NPAC) so we can interchange ideas, knowledge, data with each other with the aim of promoting commerce and growth in our respective nations.”
Upon completion of the deal with Cuba, Louisiana is estimated to receive up to $300m to $400m in trade within a few years.
In 1960, the US imposed sanctions on Cuba after Cuba nationalised US-owned companies without remuneration in response to the then US president Eisenhower’s decision to cancel sugar imports and oil exports with Cuba.
However, earlier this year, two Cuban embargo restrictions including travel and bank transactions were relaxed by the Obama administration.
A Texas A&M University study has forecasted that as many as 6,000 jobs would be created with the lift of the embargo.
In May this year, the Port of South Louisiana signed a MOU with Nicholls State University, Louisiana, US to promote the university’s coastal restoration programme, which is dedicated to provide storm surge protection, ending coastal land loss and restoring Louisiana land.