Port preparing for the storm
September 22, 2006

Port preparing for the storm

There is the popular saying ‘any port for a storm.’ That’s for ships in the ocean when bad weather is looming. The St Vincent and the Grenadines Port Authority in Kingstown is getting ready for a storm of a different nature. And their method of readiness is to provide more space at the facility.

Work on new buildings on the Port was slated to commence Monday September 18. That’s according to Executive Port Assistant Peter Prescod. {{more}}

He stated that the works should have been done three years ago.

Persons doing business at the Port might have to endure some inconveniences, but Prescod is satisfied that the measures are for the overall improvement of “safety, maintenance, order and security.”

“We want to improve the Port’s infrastructure. We want safety of our customers as well as that of our own people,” Prescod pointed out.

The Executive Port Assistant disclosed that arrangements have been made for staff of the Customs to be relocated to temporary offices while the renovations are being undertaken. He assured clients that there would be no reduction in the provision of services.

More space would be offered at the Port as a result of the renovations, and that would include the installation of racks as well as pallets to improve the storage capacity.

The improvements are timely as far as Prescod is concerned. He noted that barrels are a big factor on the Port and with the Campden Park Container Port unavailable, the racks would “free up some space to accommodate more barrels.”

Prescod outlined plans to improve the circulation of air at the Shed, an exercise which is expected to be done by October 6.

He noted that the operations were being undertaken in collaboration with the Customs.

Some 1,000 barrels a month on an average pass through the Port with peak periods being June and November.

Prescod also pointed to a busy Cruise Ship season expected to start in October. He spoke of improvements at the Cruise Ship Berth also to cater for expanded operations. He projected on a “an exciting time for SVG.”

Brennan King, Harbour Master, also pointed to increased activity at the Port. He noted the new arrivals on a weekly basis with containers shipped through a company called Sea Freights Inc., based in Miami. A ship called Hansa Greif Wald, was in shore last Wednesday on its inaugural visit. A sister ship Herm Kiempe made its debut landing last week Tuesday, and King noted that development as “increase in activity at the Port.”

“The upcoming Cruise Ship season promises to be good,” King disclosed. From October 9, the first Cruise ship is slated to dock in the Northern Grenadine Island of Bequia. October 31, Kingstown would see the first arrival for the season. And King is looking forward to a busy schedule to December next year. He envisaged the nation to be a hive of activity with two vessels in Port on some occasions.

With the International Cricket Council Cricket World Cup carded for the Caribbean March 2007, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is expected to benefit from the spill over. Warm-up matches are fixed for the Arnos Vale Playing Field March 5 to 9, and that would add to increased visitor arrival. Four Cruise Ships are also listed to be used as floating guest houses during the Warm-up matches here.

King is confident that the Port would be able to handle all the ships, but he cited logistical problems with transport as a concern.

Besides Port Kingstown and Bequia, the Southern Grenadine Island of Mayreau is expected to be a haven of Cruise Ship arrival from as early as November 2 this year. The tranquil and laid back nature of that island, plus the environmentally serene nature of the beaches are viewed as drawing cards to the tiny island.