Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, has said that government is pressing ahead with the modernization of the Bridgetown Port, in order to take advantage of opportunities in the maritime sector.
Addressing today’s open day at the facility, Sealy said government is committed to strengthening its human resources as well as infrastructure.
He added that they are now in the process of executing a “master plan” to increase homeporting facilities.
“We have expanded the berthing available for home porting activity and we are in the process of further expanding it so that not only we can have the capacity to home port even two mega vessels at the same time, and we have been doing that since the last winter season.
“This is the second season we’ll be doing that with the Britannia and the Mein Schiff 4 out of Germany. But we also will have more capacity not only for the imports Barbados needs, but also to transship to the rest of the Caribbean,” Sealy said.
The Minister added that over 700,000 tonnes of cargo pass through the Bridgetown Port each year, and the updated infrastructure is necessary to facilitate business there.
“This very area where we are standing is also part of the master plan that will be improved, that the capacity will be increased that we can have more containers, that we can have more facilities to process these containers.
In terms of new equipment, Sealy noted that the Port has invested in an additional gantry crane as well as five additional straddle carriers, bringing the total to eight, to allow for faster processing of cargo.
Sealy stated that he anticipates an increase in marine transportation in the future, and Barbados needs to position itself to benefit from opportunities.
“There’s the expansion of the Panama Canal and there’s talk about potentially another canal in Nicaragua just north of where the Panama Canal is and we have to make sure that we can get some of this marine business.
And that is why we have to expand the berthing and that is why our capacity to process cargo has to be increased and at the same time modernized,” Sealy said.