ABLP gov’t to buy its own cargo ships to reduce cost of living


Accusing the two cargo liners operating here of holding the country at ransom an Antigua Barbuda Labour Party candidate Lennox Weston says his party will purchase its own cargo vessels in its new term office.

The St. Phillip South candidate says the move will help reduce the high cost of living which is a major issue of concern to residents.

Weston who is also Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Finance says the high prices that residents are complaining of, are partly the fault of the cargo operators.

He accused them of using their dominance in the market to drive up food prices here.

“But when we check the cost of the shipping freight from Miami and New York to Antigua, the two freight companies who bring our cargo charge us 3 and 6 times the rate,” he told a campaign event tonight.

“They decided we have no choice, we must use their ships and they push the price high. So it is cheaper to bring a container from China to Antigua than to bring a container from Miami to Antigua,” he told supporters.

“We will no longer be held hostage to these cargo vessels,” Weston who is known for his outspokenness added.

The ABLP will be “bold” and do what Caricom has been talking about for many years, “we will buy our own cargo vessel.”

“We will train our nationals to manage and man those vessels. We will become the shipping line not only for Antigua and Barbuda but for the entire OECS chain,” he said.

The ABLP candidate says that measure alone will help drive down the cost of living.

“We will cut the price of cargo by half and reduce the cost of living. By simply being bold and not being dependent on those individuals who hold us at ransom..we will cut cost of living between 15-30 per cent.”

Weston says the government also plans to tackle certain charges implemented by the former UPP administration which benefit only a few.

He said the move to crack down on those benefiting from those charges is for the realisation of lower prices in the supermarket.




  1. While he is technically correct about price difference between shipping from China and USA, the volume leaving China Vs USA is vastly different.
    Weston, can’t agree with you on this one, this goes in the same basket as the concrete trucks government just bought and cargo shipping will not be as simple. Regarding the concrete trucks, It would have made more sense to just aquire the batching plant and hire independent truckers. You would control the quality and just pay for delivery.
    Has anyone even approached the shipping lines to discuss rates before making such an announcement?
    Thankfully this is not as easy as you make it sound.

  2. Lol lol lol if government cant even manage them own government building and keep the air con working and paint these building how they going to manage cargo boat nonesense weston do u think these boat base on land they run on. Sea so pls tell these fooly people that will listen to ABLP crap crap

    • I was wondering the same thing? You know how much just I’ve cargo ship cost for purchase? For maintenance?

      The government can’t even supply light fixtures for roads, APUA tell you straight off that you must purchase the fixture from a private supplier, bring to them, then they’ll install on the post.

      Government can’t even maintain the roads properly!

      Them really think no free thinking people in the electorate!

      Come on man, stop with the pie in the sky pledges and let’s deal with things that CAN be done in our budget

  3. You need more ships to be called a shipping line, especially if you bodly call it for the OECS chain.

  4. This is over ambitious. This has been said without any research or knowledge about how complicated this proposed idea is. We all know government cannot run a successful business!

  5. A shipment of cargo was sent from a manufacturing company in Jamaica to the eastern Caribbean, the shipping freight of the cargo in a 20 foot container to Antigua cost $3400 USD whiles the same cargo to Barbados cost $2500 USD. Up to today there is no convincing explanation why these discrepancies in prices are still happening.It is just difficult for a small business to operate in Antigua,the port charges are atrocious couple with that compounded ABST and young entrepreneurs just cant breathe to even think about starting a business to help themselves and the economy.One has to pay the suppliers and all the port charges up front, you cant get even a small loan from the financial institutions to pay freight and clear the goods to start with. Increase in prices have to be passed on to consumers,sometimes the goods move very slowly,one ends up raking high storage and operation cost and suffering a loss.It is such a challenging task to even try to help yourself in these harsh conditions.

  6. ALP cannot even maintain its fleet of cars much less sea vessels. Just take a look at government run premises and vehicles. The navy base at Coolidge is now overrun with bush and looks like a gated ghetto a far cry from the well manicured lawns that the US maintained. Stanford cricket grounds are another example, the place is also run down and ghettorized. If you can’t maintain land based vehicles and properties how you go manage sea vessels. Stop compete with the private sector and do your job.

  7. Lol… they will run this operation they way they run the relief efforts in Barbuda. These folks always make grandiose promises that are not fully thought out, and they have absolutely no intention of keeping them. This is just an election gimmick just like the 500 homes in 500 days and the billions of investments that were coming right after the last election…. time to give the opposition a chance

    • The “opposition” has been given a chance already. The problem with the “opposition” is that LOVELL is the Leader.

  8. This Idea was first launch in the Heads of Government Meeting of Caricom. This is nothing new. The Caribbean countries needs to come together and take control of the things that directly effect their economies. Such as airlines, Hotels, and Shipping lines. We have seen how we struggle with the airlines. Liat, Air Jamaica now Caribbean Airlines and many more smaller lines. This shipping line must not just be seen as to go and collect cargo from the USA or Canada and bring it to the Caribbean. But it should be utilized to promote greater trade between the various Islands and Guyana and Suriname and soon Venezuela. Someone should first do a White Paper and a feasibility study. Because the established shipping companies will put every block on our way, and we would be bankrupt before you know it. Or our ships will not get birthing rights in their harbors. We need to research leasing some ships that have already establish lines in the USA and give them incentives to take cargo from USA to Antigua. And what is specifically needed is LCL. Cause our importers usually cannot manage ordering a whole container of goods. The idea is well meant but the execution of this will take many years to come. Unless Caricom would finally work as one.

  9. Why not go in and work with these shipping company or try to woo some others to ship Antigua. Nothing brings down prices like copmetition. And further more the ABST and RRC are compounding taxes they need to be revised espically the RRC that is one of the main killers of importing.

    • The shipping lines are like a mafia organization. They control shipping lines all over the world. That is why I believe they would not allow this to happen. They would use their muscle and flex it with the USA authorities

  10. First of all Antigua and Barbuda has an inflation problem our population has grown overnight witch cause us to have massive amount of paper dollars in circulation,this is why things are so expensive but the politicians are not gonna tell you these things.Antiguians need to get educated and ask questions like who are the people that are buying our national Dept(bonds)because they might sell the country with you in it,you people need to wake up and hold the politicians accountable before the it’s to late the world is changing.

  11. Wait ah nah dem inna office with time to spare? Me Jesus!!! No more promises!!! This should have been an achieved goal becus u bright not a new promise!!! SMH!!!

  12. My friends Choco has the right idea it’s time carribean people wake up do you realize two hundred years ago Europeans use to wait on us to send cargo to fuel their economy,and now we act like we are retarded we need to plant food and raise our animals start to plant fruit trees all over our island,and stop using the medication they are sending you I live in America you guys don’t know what’s going on we have to start depending on our self we need carribean unity,it would be good if we have our own cargo ships so we can have free trade amongs our people.

  13. It would be a monumental tasks.. The problem I see here is most Caribbean Politician lack vision.. this issue has been ventilated too often across the region…we the people must think big…ownership don’t mean you will operate it…when you own something, you can set the prices. Goosh, people it doesn’t take any brain’s to know… Food for thought….. Its doesn’t matter who proposed it. It can be done…It may help light the fire under your policy makers across the region. Own the damn thing. It worth it.

  14. Going to say this bet you if Harold Lovell would have come up with this all the singer on this site would say wonderful idea. The UPP love the poor and struggling man blah blah blah like the bunch of hypocrites and traitors they are, but as it was suggests by the ABLP it suddenly impossible and a pue in the sky idea just show the type of people these UPP supports are nothing go unless it was done by their party. O really hope the government gets this done cause bringing in goods for business is one of the killers of most.

  15. We did have an inter island shipping line with two RORO vessels. The Federal Palm and the Federal Maple given to us as a gift from Canada during the WI Federation. These ships used to ferry passengers and cargo from Jamaica in the north to Trinidad in the south. After the federation was disbanded the two ships were sold and we’ve been struggling with regional travel ever since.

  16. Please forgive the UPPITES… They are full of hate and bad mindness…lack any CS as my Grandmother would say, their are dunce and blind like bat’s…. However, on the 21st, we proud and patriotic Antiguans – Barbudans will show them once for all, who are the forward thinking people.

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