Brian Bandell, Senior Reporter at the South Florida Business Journal | March 28, 2016
Miami-based International Port Corp said it’s the first U.S. company to open a staffed office in Cuba.
Several companies have received licenses from the U.S. government to start operations in Cuba since President Barack Obama restored diplomatic relations with the communist country yet they haven’t opened facilities yet. IPC Owner and President Larry Nussbaum said his shipping firm has leased warehouse space in Havana from the Cuban government and staffed it with six employees. The Cuban workers were hired by a Cuban government employment agency, which IPC pays.
“The opportunities are great. Cuba is open for business,” Nussbaum said. “Now we need the American legislation to make it legal for companies like mine to expand what we can legally do in Cuba.”
IPC first received a license to conduct shipments between Miami and Havana in July 2012 on humanitarian groups. It’s since expanded that to include commercial shipments and cargo for diplomatic purposes, both by air and sea, he said.
Having daily representatives in Cuba will help his company ensure shipments reach customers and go through customs properly, Nussbaum said.
“It’s a matter of properly respecting U.S. and Cuban law and building a relationship with them,” Nussbaum said.
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