Caribbean Shipping Services - Guyana Shipping Agents
Guywill Int. Freight Forwarder
50 E FIFTH STREET
Amerijet International, Inc. c/o Total Aircargo
Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri, Guyana
Georgetown, East Bank Demerara Guyana
Business Hours : 9:00am - 5:00pm (Mon-Wed & Fri); 9:00am - 1:00pm (Thurs)
Phone : +592-261-2271 or +592-261-3035
Guyana International Shipping Company makes Guyanese proud. Guyanese entrepreneurs continue to flourish in the United States
By Karen Abrams (Friday, October 5th 2007)
Sharon Barnwell nee Mitchell is one of many Guyanese residing overseas whose accomplishments in business are attracting more than passing attention. It has been 13 years since this St Joseph's High School alumna and her uncle Fred Hoppie made the decision to "partner up" to establish an international shipping business to respond to the growing shipping needs of the Caribbean community in Georgia. Today, Caribbean International Shipping Company is stronger than ever and is connecting Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and North and South Carolinas with the Caribbean and South and Central America.
A consistently high quality of service has been met with a positive customer response and the evidence is clear that business is growing. Caribbean International offers additional services to its customers including money transfers to Guyana, Trinidad, Barbados and Antigua; local and international relocation services including packing and moving; and phone cards to the Caribbean. Essentially, Caribbean International is a one stop shop facility for meeting customers' shipping and communication needs.
The team is now set on expanding into the lucrative markets of Mexico and Africa and with Sharon's business acumen and determination, don't bet against them.
Although, the current partnership team which now includes Sharon's husband Gordon Barnwell intends to expand the company's shipping services over the next 2 years, Sharon explains that the team is seeking to secure a more thorough understanding of the Mexican and African markets before "taking the plunge." "Customers' merchandise can be put at risk if one is not aware of the local market's regulations, rules and cultural expectations regarding the shipping business.". Asked about the factors that account for the success of a local small business Sharon says that it is necessary to "provide a quality product or service, be aware of your competitors, exceed your customer's expectations and service, service, service".
The Guyanese-born businesswoman is evidently "on top of her game." Caribbean International Shipping Company is one of the oldest Guyanese-owned businesses in the Atlanta metro area. In an environment where the vast majority of startup businesses do not survive more than twelve months, 13 years is an incredible track record. Sharon states that in the past 13 years in Georgia, she has seen the Guyanese community and thus a large part of her customer base grow exponentially. Mrs Barnwell declares that the Guyana Association of Georgia's annual Memorial weekend celebration events are clearly responsible for much of the growth. The Memorial Day picnic usually attracts more than 5000 Guyanese from the Diaspora. Many of them visit with friends and relatives and are attracted by the small business environment and slower style of life in Georgia. Droves of Guyanese migrate from NY to Georgia each year and many of them are in some stage of developing or growing their own business.
Ms Barnwell, who is the mother of 2 children, is also a dedicated volunteer for the Guyana Association of Georgia. Though she holds no elected office, her presence is visible at each event as she makes her contribution to the growth and development of the local Guyanese community.
During our conversation, I asked Sharon if she would invest in Guyana, given the right opportunity. Looking at me with an incredulous stare, she declared, "Guyana is my home" Given the right opportunity, Mrs Barnwell like many other successful Guyanese living abroad expressed keen interest in investing in Guyana should the information, startup infrastructure and maintenance model be put in place to meet their expectations. Clearly, many overseas Guyanese still have a connection to Guyana. Their parents were responsible for building and growing Guyana and many feel that they have an obligation to rebuilding Guyana and a right to an ownership stake in Guyana which must be passed on to their own children and to their children's children. For overseas Guyanese, the investment is both financial and emotional.
When asked to contribute advice to the private sector in Guyana, Sharon stated the Guyana private sector needs to do a better job at promoting themselves overseas. She cited the example of her delightful discoveries during a recent tour of Banks DIH Ltd, expressing surprise at the wide selection of quality products being produced by the company, most of which are unknown to communities outside of Guyana and the Caribbean. "I can personally attest to the taste of the wonderful new 'premium' beer," Sharon said.
She believes that while many Guyanese products are yet to become widely known outside the region Guyana has much to offer the world. She has also indicated a preparedness to contribute to the aggressive marketing of Guyanese products overseas. "If you are not marketing, you are not selling and if you are not selling, you are not in business," Sharon says. Sharon believes that Guyana has always had a powerful "word of mouth" network. If a programme or service is good, then some Guyanese somewhere will put the "buzz" out. Overseas Guyanese trust the "buzz" much more than official announcements of new programmes or policies. Commenting on the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-INVEST) the state agency in Guyana that is responsible for engaging overseas investors Sharon says that while she is not in a position to comment on the effectiveness of the organization she has not detected that "buzz" about its work among overseas-based Guyanese. "We need to hear more about the successes at GO-INVEST. We want to know who uses the service, where the bottlenecks are, why the bottlenecks exist and how these can be expedited. We need to get information about processing time, the expediency of the overall service, who is happy and who is not. This is the kind of critical information that potential investors are seeking."
Caribbean International Shipping is a company on the move and based on future plans will continue to make a service impact around the world as it expands into uncharted waters.
Guyana - The Green Anchor
This column explores initiatives to improve the business climate of our nation and make Guyana Open for Business a reality. Peter R. Ramsaroop, MBA Chairman, RoopGroup
Friday, October 12th 2007
Given this is Agriculture month; I thought it appropriate to re-address a topic I have discussed many times in this column, that Guyana has the capacity as a nation to feed the entire region. This last weekend I spent some time with the Honourable Minister of Tourism of St Lucia who was with me in Atlanta to speak at the Caribbean Awards. Our conversation kept going back to why can't Guyana really and truly become the feeder of the region. I called the topic, "Guyana - The Green Anchor". With the hotel boom in the region, especially in St Kitts and St Lucia, the Minister told me we must quickly solve the transportation issues that prohibit us from gaining the larger markets.. He is an advocate for the Fast Ferry Service and I discussed our previous plan for an Air Cargo Service for the region.
Our strategy must not only be to produce quality products, and just find small markets as GMC is doing, but must develop a comprehensive plan that includes development of the top exportable products, transportation, tax free zones for shipping, reduction of export taxes and pushing for a Caricom plan similar to what exists in the United States for Minority Businesses. In addition, we must focus on job creation and sound investment strategy for productivity gains in the sector and agro-enterprise development. Caricom needs to ensure for example that the cruise lines buy at least 15% of fresh fruits and vegetables from the region. At this point most of the fresh fruits and vegetables for the cruise lines come from Thailand on a daily basis yet this industry utilizes the region's ports and does little to aid the countries apart from local spending by the tourists. This market alone is in the thousands of people on a daily basis.
Guyana is blessed with an over-abundance of natural resources including very fertile agricultural lands with over 200 types of fruits and vegetables, many rivers and large bodies of water, vast areas of tropical hardwood forests with over 1200 species, abundant shrimp and fish grounds. Guyana's incredible biodiversity and vast stretches of pristine equatorial rainforest make it an important natural treasure within the Western Hemisphere that could be utilised in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner for the benefit of Guyanese and the global community.
Guyana is 83,000 square miles or 215,000 square kilometres. Its population density is three people per square mile and 75 percent of its land mass is uninhabited. With the ultimate future requirement of a well functioning Caricom if the small countries of the Caribbean are to survive in the future, Guyana's land mass can be one of the key sustaining elements, agriculturally, for Caricom .
Given the continued crisis in the sugar industry, many Caricom leaders have argued forcefully in recent years for the transition of their agricultural sector away from the traditional crops of sugar or rice, given prevailing market conditions, the uneconomic productive capacity of many islands and even Guyana, and the reductions in subsidies for these commodities in key international markets. We have seen recently the Jamaican need for rice which couldn't be fully supplied from our local sources. Our overall thrust must be to make agriculture more competitive and diversified and to play a key role in Caribbean regional integration for food security.
As our Minister of Agriculture said recently in his speech "Guyana is a net exporter of food, and is firmly committed to working with the Member States of the Caribbean Community through increased production, trade and joint ventures, to reduce the region's high food import bill in the wake of spiralling world food prices." Let us work together to develop a more comprehensive plan and the right incentives and investment climate that can attract partnerships which ultimately benefit our hard working farmers. Until next week "Roop"
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