A NEW world class cargo terminal has been promised on completion of the Port Modernization Project in Kingstown.
This promise has come from Marty Harris, senior vice president and executive lead for Civil Operations at Aecon, the firm contracted to construct the new port.
Speaking at the formal launch of the project on Friday, July 1 Harris said, “We are marking the first of many milestones to come on the project.
“We are looking forward to getting things moving.”
The contractor from the Canadian firm added that the port project is now moving “from imagination to expert delivery.”
Harris assured that Aecon will “create a modernized facility that will serve the people, business, government and international trade stakeholders of St Vincent and the Grenadines for decades to come.”
Aecon is a leading construction company in Canada and Harris said his company not only builds infrastructure, but also “long term partnership which will be critical to the success of this project.”
“Partnerships are our way of life,” Harris declared .
He went on to say that “currently, we are in complex design works through the end of this year”.
According to the Aecon representative, real heavy civil construction work is expected to begin early in 2023.
The Port Modernization Project is expected to be completed in two and a half years.
The contractor added that upon completion, the new state of the art, climate resilient port will “significantly enhance economic activities and access to goods and services” in St
Vincent and the Grenadines.
“Aecon is here to deliver this project safely, sustainability and efficiently,” Harris pledged.
The engineering firm, Sellhorn Investment of Germany will be working along with Aecon to construct the new port in Kingstown.
The company’s representative at Friday’s launch noted that the port project actually began since 2010 when a rationalization and development study was done.
He recalled that Sellhorn became involved with the feasibility study in 2018.
The Sellhorn representative expressed gratitude to all who worked over the years to ensure that the project reached this far.
The government of St Vincent and the Grenadines signed contracts with Aecon and Sellhorn on May 3 this year.
The Kingstown Port Modernisation Project is being constructed at a cost of US$250.8 million.
The joint initiative is being undertaken with grant financing of US$36 million from the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (UKCIF), administered by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The Bank is providing US$110 million in loan financing, and the Government of SVG has allocated US$104.8 million for the project.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, held at the existing port site in Kingstown, vice president, Operations at the CDB, Isaac Solomon said, “Improved ports of entry like that planned for St.Vincent and the Grenadines are part of the trade ecosystem, and can potentially lead to major and far-reaching positive impacts by facilitating rising exports, enhanced logistics services and connectivity between production and consumption, economic exchange and market space can be expanded, employment increased, and lives improved”.
He added that, “the project is consistent with CDB’s strategic objective of building production resilience and is in keeping with our poverty reduction mandate. CDB remains a long-standing partner of the government, working collaboratively to create a more competitive economy.”
High Commissioner of the UK to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Scott Furssedonn-Wood commended prime minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and his government for continuing to advance the port project despite having to manage the devastating eruption of La Soufrière last year and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. He also lauded the government for its continued commitment to the social aspects of the project. He noted that,“this is truly a transformative project, and we are proud to support our Commonwealth partner St. Vincent and the Grenadines in this venture. “The UK will continue to work in partnership with St. Vincent and the Grenadines to support inclusive, resilient growth and other development priorities to improve the lives and prosperity of its people.”
In alignment with the objectives of the UKCIF, the new port will increase SVG’s climate resilient economic infrastructure. The construction and operation phases will facilitate sustainability including preservation of the marine environment, and will promote economic opportunities for people, including youth and women.Training and support will also be provided for relevant project- affected persons. Other anticipated long-term benefits include increased trade, economic diversification, improved efficiency in seaport operations, and enhanced border security, supporting improved social and economic conditions for the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The project involves a major expansion of the existing main port facilities including construction of a new cargo port and upgrading of surrounding roadways.