September 13, 2017
On Friday September 8th a small crowd gathered patiently outside of Super Value Winton. There was chatter among the patrons about Hurricane Irma, the projected path, images of her destruction, and preparation.
At 7:15 sharp a Purity Bakery delivery truck pulled up, the driver off loaded freshly made bread, and the crowd disbursed, to finish their last minute hurricane prep.
As photos of empty shelves littered social media sites, local manufactures like Purity Bakery, Polar Ice, and Aqua Pure went into over drive to ensure that the increase in customer demands were met.
Each day fresh breads, ice, and bottled water were on shelves across New Providence and surrounding islands.
“Local production gives Bahamian manufacturers the agility to adjust their production to suit the demands of their customer, and not be held captive to shipping schedules,” says Jonathan Cartwright, president of Cartwrights Bedding, and board member of Bahamas Light Industry Development Council (BLIDC).
“The only new items/products that enter this market once the ports are closed are items that are made here.”
Cartwright is referring to the fact that the Nassau Container Port closed Friday September 8th, and is not expecting to receive shipments until Thursday September 14th.
If Hurricane Irma had affected any of the four ports on the eastern shore of Florida, it could have taken up to two weeks to get supplies to New Providence, as Michael Maura, Nassau Container Port’s (NCP) Chief Executive Officer highlighted in a Tribune Business article.
Cartwright continued to explain, “all local manufacturers we open for business on Monday morning, some local manufacturers are in a position to sustain their market for a month or more when the ports are closed.
Local manufacturers are vital to our country’s commercial ecosystem, and are necessary for any form of self-sustainability.”
With the rise in natural disasters, similar to Hurricane Irma, it is easy to understand why import-reliant countries like the Bahamas should be moving closer to self-sustainability, and encouraging the growth of local manufacturing sectors.