The Caribbean has its own unique project cargo business. The business can include building a resort or shipping oversized “not in trailer” machinery. The one Caribbean constant is everything is destined for an island where mistakes can add up to long and costly delays. The following story was written by Mark Miller for Crowley’s house magazine Connections (see editor’s note).
Project cargo is critically important to the people of the Caribbean because virtually everything needed for construction, maintenance, special events and the like, must be shipped in from elsewhere. The importance of receiving project cargo on time and in good condition is magnified even more when, for example, contractors have labor standing by ready to do a job and they need containers of tile flooring and lighting fixtures; or when a television network has a broadcast scheduled from the islands and needs the satellite uplink truck and mobile studios there to bring the program to their affiliates.
“Building is quite different in the Caribbean compared to the United States,” explained John Manning, a principal with Kraus-Manning Construction & Development Services, which has managed construction of several high-profile resort properties in the Caribbean. “A resort in the U.S. might take 18 months to build, while the same resort in the Caribbean would probably take 30 months. In the U.S., the project is more likely to be built out in one phase, where in the Caribbean, it is more likely to be phased construction.”
“Another difference – take St. Thomas for example – as populated and westernized as the island is, you can’t count on going out and buying building materials you didn’t order and didn’t have delivered,” he said. “You have to have everything on hand – all the nuts and bolts. There are thousands of pieces that go into a project and you have to plan well ahead of time to get them all there when and where they are needed.”
The margin for error – both from a timing and safe delivery standpoint – is very small, yet Crowley has managed to establish itself as a trusted, project cargo shipping specialist and a partner to companies engaged in many of the most significant construction projects and events in the islands.
Project: Viceroy Resorts & Residences, Anguilla, British West Indies
The Viceroy on Anguilla overlooks turquoise bays and consists of 166 units ranging from 500 square-foot studios to more than 6,500 square-foot five-bedroom villas plus all the amenities. The residences are being sold, but when not being used by the owners, the property management company rents the property to visitors.
“This is a one of a kind project in the Caribbean,” said Alex Samek, director, acquisitions and development for the KOR Group, a privately held real estate investment firm, which contracted with Centra Worldwide and Kraus-Manning to manage construction of the resort. “It will be another 10 years before another project like this is done.”
The 35-acre tract was purchased in Dec. 2004. Samek said that they pre-sold a record $180 million in properties during May 2005, and to date have sold about $230 million. “We ship the majority of the items we need with Crowley,” said Chris Kennedy, project manager for Suddath Hospitality Solutions, Centra’s parent company.
Cargo, some of it from around the world – like tile from Italy and Turkey and windows from Bosnia – is taken into a Miami warehouse and consolidated for shipment with Crowley. Ships sail from Port Everglades on Thursdays arriving in Anguilla on Mondays, and then the loads are brought from the port to the job site.
“The general cargo flow starts three weeks out when contractors tell us what they are going to
need,” Kennedy said. “We tell the warehouse and they generate the pack