Credit: January 6th, 2016 Americas, Ports and Logistics
The Port Authority of Virginia on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Port of Mariel in Cuba, making Virginia the first US port operator to sign such a cooperation agreement with the communist island since relations began to thaw in December 2014.
The deal should boost trade ties between the east coast state and the Caribbean island which has been embargoed by the US for 54 years. US President Barack Obama has relaxed parts of the trade embargo and has asked Congress to lift it completely.
If that comes to pass, Virginia hopes to be in the vanguard for the trade and cultural exchange benefits that should flow.
The cooperation agreement was signed when Virginia’s Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe was on a three-day visit to the island as part of a delegation from his state.
Mariel port and free trade zone, is 25 miles west of the capital Havana in the province of Artemisa. Cuban authorities want it to become an important trade hub, especially with the Panama Canal expansion imminent.
The Port of Virginia comprises four marine terminals on the harbor of Hampton Roads and an inland port at Front Royal.