CNMI hosts 1st APP conference in years


The CNMI’s first Association of Pacific Ports conference in 16 years garnered the participation of over 65 individuals representing ports from all across the Pacific. The conference, which lasted about three days, was held at the Hyatt Regency Saipan’s ballroom. (KIMBERLY B. ESMORES)

The CNMI hosted its first Association of Pacific Ports conference in 16 years which was held at the Hyatt Regency Saipan’s ballroom.

According to Kimberlyn King-Hinds, Commonwealth Ports Authority chair and previous APP president, the CNMI hasn’t hosted the APP conference since 2006 and she is glad to have put Saipan back in the rotation to host such an important annual event.

The APP’s 108th annual conference began last Monday and concluded yesterday with over 65 participants from all across the pacific.

“It was an amazing turnout. We had over 65 participants from all over the world to include the UK, Fiji, Canada, participants from up and down the west coast and across the Pacific,” she said.

King-Hinds stated the APP conference is of great importance as it is an opportunity for ports across the pacific share their challenges and ideas to help their fellow ports in the Pacific flourish.

“This is an opportunity for ports to come together to share their challenges, to share their best practices, so that we can all learn from each other. It’s also an opportunity to talk to our industry partners to include folks who are at the cutting edge of innovation, in terms of technology. That’s an opportunity for us to see what’s out there, and learn from them how we can be more efficient and increase our productivity,” King-Hinds said.

When asked what the highlight of the conference was, King-Hinds said it was hearing from other smaller ports in the Pacific who shared similar challenges with CPA and to get feedback on how to possibly resolve them.

“The highlight of the conference, I would have to say, is hearing from the smaller ports in the Pacific, and to share the similar challenges that we’re all facing, especially with Guam and the CNMI. We are smaller ports, and so we rely heavily on federal funding to help out with port infrastructure and port development. One of the challenges that keeps coming up is this issue with having to buy American, as well as certain components within grant applications that requires applicants to ensure that the benefit to the community outweighs the cost of certain infrastructure projects, which is always going to be a challenge out here because of the population. And so being able to, you know, connect, and have those discussions and come up with a unified position in terms of those issues, and raising and elevating those issues to our federal grantors, to me, personally, was the highlight of this conference,” the CPA chair said.

However, for most of the participants, King-Hinds proudly said the highlight was the newfound friendships and partnerships.

“But I think for everybody here, because you have people who’ve never been out here before, the opportunity to come out and hear about smaller ports was eye opening for them. We’ve made some really good friends and also developed strong partnerships so that they can help the Marianas advocate,” she said.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at

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