The proposed multi-million-dollar Sugar Point Cruise Ship Terminal, which was scheduled to be up and running this year, has been put on hold.
Chief Executive Officer of Barbados Port Inc David Jean-Marie told Barbados TODAY while the board remained committed to the project, there had been no movement on the venture.
“There is no progress on that [Sugar Point] . . . .There is nothing on that. The board remains committed to that but there is nothing to report on that,” Jean-Marie said.
Asked if it had been put on hold, the port executive replied: “Kind ‘o, yea. We just trying to work out the numbers on it so it’s on hold for now.”
The lack of financing appears to be the hold-up, with Operations Manager at Bridgetown Port Ian Stuart saying: “It’s a question of finding the right financing package.”
Construction on the first phase of the project was expected to start last year, with the facility due to become operational in time for the 2016-2017 cruise season.
Key elements of the project include three 350 metre-long pile-supported piers providing berths for six large ships, cruise terminal building and associated infrastructure, multi-use land-side development and the separation of cruise and cargo operations, according to the Port.
The primary objectives of the project are to ease congestion in the existing port, separate cruise and cargo operations, create a world-class cruise facility/destination and a significant public amenity for Barbadians and encourage home porting, Bridgetown Port had said.
The Sugar Point team, a joint venture of SMI Infrastructure Solutions and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL), was selected to undertake a front end engineering design study for the new cruise ship terminal adjacent to the existing Port of Bridgetown.
The proposed new facility was being designed to accommodate the world’s largest cruise ships and to significantly improve the arrival experience of cruise passengers.
Though separate and distinct, the Sugar Point project and the expansion of Berth 5, which was completed last year, were part of a major upgrade and capacity boost for the sea port.
In March last year, Jean-Marie had announced at a Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry business luncheon that the port was expected to complete a $100 million upgrade and capacity boost by October of the same year.
That upgrade would comprise the expansion of Berth 5. He told the audience at the time the capital investment included a new $50 million berthing facility dedicated to handling all cargo, thus separating the cargo handling area from cruise passengers.
He added then the investment also covered a US$24 million state-of-the-art equipment package, including a new Panamax crane, 15 forklifts, electric straddle carriers and additional cargo-handling equipment.