Saturday, May 21, 2016

Port Authority, City Leaders Talk Cuba Trip

Port Authority, City Leaders Talk Cuba Trip

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson and other local officials just returned from
a four-day trip to Cuba Thursday night, reinforcing the friendship
between Mobile and its sister city Havana.

One of the goals of the trip was to improve trade relations between
Mobile and Cuba.

Officials also went over tourism possibilities and educational
opportunities moving forward.

Stimpson along with seven other Mobile leaders made the journey. While
in Havana they met with Cuban ministries and discussed ways to enhance
the quality of life in Mobile and Havana.

"Really it's about establishing relationships. We've been a sister city
with Havana since 1993," said Stimpson.

Stimpson said there's a desire for more cultural and educational
exchange between the two cities.

"During the course of conversation I said maybe we can have an event
where for a 2 to 3 day period, you bring vocal, instrumental, visual
arts, bring them to Mobile. We'll have a festival and next year we go to
Cuba. And they thought that was a great idea," said Mayor Stimpson.

Local 15 also asked about the possibility of cruises traveling from
Mobile to Cuba in the future.

"I think that's a question mark that's out there. It's something we
raised the first time we met with Carnival and we'll continue to ask
that question," said Stimpson.

Port Authority CEO Jimmy Lyons was on the trip to discuss the
possibility of a regular container service between Mobile and Mariel,
Cuba, which is about a 50 minute drive from Havana.

Lyons said currently Mobile ships mostly chicken to Cuba, but only by
charter ships when the volume is great enough about once a month.

"I'd love to see a weekly fixed day service where every Monday a ship
leaves for Cuba, will be there Wednesday and then be back here for work
the next Monday. And that's possible with the distance," said Lyons.

And more activity at the port means more jobs.

"But it's going to going to take trade freeing up, more embargo being
lifted a little more, and that's a contentious issue," said Lyons.

Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl and folks with the Chamber of
Commerce were also on the trip.

Source: Port Authority, City Leaders Talk Cuba Trip | WPMI -

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