Our Readers' Opinions
April 24, 2018

Jethro Green writes Geest Line Shipping over cancellations


April 18, 2018 Jethro Green, Coordinator Eastern Caribbean Trading Agricultural & Development Organisation (ECTAD) New Montrose P.O. Box 827, Kingstown St.Vincent and the Grenadines,W.I. Geest Line Shipping UK Head Office Eagle Point Little Park Farm Road, Fareham, PO15 5TD United Kingdom Dear Sir/Madam, I wish to bring to your attention a truly vexing matter related to the Geest Line (“Geest”) ships scheduled calls to Port Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (“St.


Over several months, Geest has been randomly canceling regularly scheduled calls to Port Kingstown at what can only be described as the last minute. For example, today, Wednesday, April 18, 2018, sometime shortly after 12:30 p.m., which is the deadline of closing off orders to Geest, I was told that the Geest ship will not be calling to St. Vincent. Today’s cancellation came after ECTAD had confirmed with Geest’s agent in Kingstown since Monday, April 16, that we would have a shipment and after we had already purchased and prepared for shipment almost 300 boxes of produce at a cost of over Eighteen Thousand dollars (EC$18,000). No explanation was given for today’s cancellation.

As I mentioned earlier, this has not been the first such random and unexplained cancellation. On February 03, 2018, ECTAD had a shipment to England, but GEEST cancelled the shipments for two (2) consecutive weeks. ECTAD had to store its Dasheen shipment in refrigerated storage at tremendous cost to our organisation (a cost, which we are still struggling to offset). GEEST’s unreliable scheduling to St. Vincent is literally costing ECTAD our business, unless we can reliably ship produce to our customers we will not be able to maintain our supplier arrangements and our operations will fold.

Like most small non-profit organisations, we have little operational capital, and we cannot sustain the losses to revenue that naturally results from these cancelled schedules. Currently, we are trying to figure out how to handle this week’s cancellation, as we cannot afford to pay for refrigerated storage.

As paying customers, we expect and demand more transparency and clarity from Geest regarding the schedule and the reasoning behind these seemingly random cancellations. We also request compensation, either for the cost of refrigerated storage, or for loss of revenue for our shipment. We also recommend that Geest arranges for, or provides cold storage facilities for our perishable goods when they cancel scheduled port calls randomly, irrationally and without timely notice.

Finally, I wish to reiterate the devastating impact of this situation.

ECTAD has fought hard to secure private investors to support our operations. We operate on razor thin budgets and absolutely depend on reliable weekly shipments to sustain our operations. Every time Geest decides to cancel a shipment, we suffer financially. Our financial losses affect the dozens of small farmers that grow the produce we supply. At a time when investment capital is increasingly difficult to secure, when less and less agricultural produce is exported from St. Vincent, and when our farmers have fewer and fewer options to market and sell their product, Geest needs to commit to helping, rather than hindering, our agricultural trading sector.

I look forward to your timely response and action.

Yours Sincerely,

Jethro Greene