Barbados Port Inc. (BPI) recently held a ceremony to commission its newly extended Berth #5, the Shallow Draught Marina and the acquisition of a spanking new Liebehrr Panamax Container Crane and other cargo-handling equipment.

Delivering the feature address at Berth 5, against the backdrop of the docked mega ship, Anthem of the Seas, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner said she was pleased with the “Master Plan” which the BPI had implemented. “The infrastructural works complement the institutional changes that are ongoing at the Port to make it the enviable Port of choice in the region and beyond. The BPI’s Master Plan is on course and is being executed as planned. The new Panamax container crane will improve the efficiency of cargo operations and several workers have already received training in the use of the crane and has since seen faster turnaround time for vessels,” she said.

BPI Chairman, David Harding, said he was proud of the strides that the Bridgetown Port was making and that it could now be considered the premier port facility in the Eastern Caribbean. “The Bridgetown Port has caught up. The acquisition of this new state-of-the-art Panamax Container Crane and the extension of Berth 5 is part of the Port’s Master Plan 2000 that we are forging ahead with. The crane will be able to handle ships which pass through the Panama Canal. As part of the equipment upgrade programme, we have also acquired 17 additional forklifts, two empty container handlers and five electric straddle carriers to expand the fleet,” he said.

During the remarks, CEO, David Jean-Marie stated that despite financial delays, Berth 5 was completed on time and on budget thanks to local contractors. “This expansion project was done to the tune of $115 million and at one point we had to search for $27 million in bridge funding. Despite the loans from ANSA Merchant Bank, we ran out of money. However, credit must be given to Mark Maloney and the consortium of contractors which he pulled together who continued working,” he said.Officials were taken on a tour of the Panamax container crane and were then treated to light refreshments aboard the Tiami catamaran which was docked at the newly commissioned Shallow Draught Marina. Reverend Robert Luther Johnson performed the invocation on the day’s proceedings.

Berth #5 underwent a recent 75-metre expansion on March 27 last year and was completed in October. While Berth #5 is mainly for cargo, its expansion was completed just in time to host mega ships Britannia and Mein Schiff 3 which arrived last year on November 6 and 9, respectively.

Caption: Left to right: BPI President David Jean Marie, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner and Chariman of BPI Board of Directors David Harding (MBE)

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Did You Know?

In 1978, the Port added another 6.5 hectares of land through a land reclamation project?