Port to get major upgrades as part of tourism development

Approximately one billion dollars will be spent to finance the Ministry of Tourism’s multifaceted 2020-2030 plan which is inclusive of separate projects to build infrastructure on the island.

Speaking during the Estimates Debate in the well of Parliament on Monday, chief executive officer of Barbados Port Inc., David Jean Marie, said among the projects were the expansion of Berth 6, a container freight station and a central container examination facility.

The Berth 6 expansion will cost the Government $108 million in a renegotiated contract from the one previously signed in May 2017.  Commencing on January 16, the project will see the port upgraded and expanded by 10 acres to accommodate larger cargo ships and cruise vessels together. Jean Marie explained that the need for expansion was in preparation for the expected increase in cruise ship traffic in Barbados.

Chief executive officer of Barbados Port Inc., David Jean Marie. (FILE)

“There is that conflict between cargo and cruise ships and often cruise vessels have to remain outside and await the berth at night, which increases the cost of doing business,” Jean Marie said.

“In addition to the construction works is the removal of coral, about 3200 heads of coral from the north of the port as well as to prepare a water quality monitoring plan prior to dredging.”

The Berth 6 (B6E) project will transition immediately from Berth 5 north at approximately 90 degrees and run in a west to east direction. It is intended that B6E will cater mainly to container cargo ships, thus allowing the remaining berths to mainly facilitate cruise ship traffic.

Through this, the Port should be able to increase operational efficiency and optimise existing space available for development to meet increasing future berthing requirements and container throughput demands.

According to Jean Marie the central container examination facility, which is a $40 million project, would enable containers to be inspected at the port which should reduce cost and an increase in efficiency and security.

The arrival of vessel Arvia at the Bridgetown Port. (Picture by Reco Moore) 

“Once containers leave the port, it is difficult to manage them. We are looking for a business model to effect that project because we want it to be a Public-Private Partnership PPP) with the private sector leading. With respect to the aggregate berth, the sand reserves have been depleted and we’ve been working with an engineering team and CO Williams Construction to create land for storage of imported aggregate and sand.”

He added: “There is a plan to establish a plant at the site for production of aggregate in different sizes for both local and export markets and the provision of sand for the local market.”

The draft of the Environmental Impact of the Port is being reviewed by Port management with the view of submitting the 621-page document to the Town and Country Development Planning Office by the end of the month. It is another proposed PPP project with private sector interests and the port and officials close to it hope to begin work on the $80 million project by mid year, once permission has been granted. (JC)

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