For cargo shipping, focus is on the Cuban port, Container Terminal Mariel (TC Mariel) which opened in January 2014. The Obama Administration has made it easier for container services to add Cuba as a port of call since they’ve reopened embassies and ended a 54-year diplomatic standstill with the country. In May 2016, the first US cruise ship docked in Cuba since 1978 - opening the door to more travel and business with Cuba, but there are still limitations on trade in goods and services - the US trade embargo is still in place.
The US Office of Foreign Assets Control broadened allowances for US vessels carrying certain agricultural or otherwise approved cargoes, extending them to non-US vessels. “Cuba does have the potential to act as a transshipment hub for US cargo, in a similar way to how Freeport, Bahamas does now,” said Drewry.