Categorized | Featured, National News

Port Development Revenue Could Increase

Government revenue from Arawak Port Development (APD) could increase significantly if the business of shipping is managed exclusively through the Nassau Container Port (NCP).

Chief Executive Officer at APD, Mike Maura made the case as he took the Minister of Tourism, Obie Wilchcombe and his team of senior officials on a tour of NCP, giving them a first-hand view of the operation.

During a PowerPoint presentation following the tour, Mr. Maura revealed that as a 40 percent shareholder in the Port, the government receives $5.8 million dollars in dividends annually.

Mr. Maura cited however that the transshipment of goods destined for Nassau through Family Island Ports, the use of Prince George Dock as a commercial port and the unregulated use of Potter’s Cay Dock are “national security threats, impacts the cost of doing business at NCP and reduces the revenue government can potentially earn.”

Minister Wilchcombe expressed concern but said it must be investigated to ensure that there is no abuse and people are not using the ports for the wrong reasons.

“You have to appreciate that things will land on the respective islands, but it does not make sense for example to land something in Bimini for clearance then bringing it to New Providence where it is going to remain,” the tourism minister said.

“That does not make sense. If abuses are occurring in the Family Islands it must be addressed and new protocols introduced to prevent it.”

Referring to the challenges at Prince George and Potter’s Cay Docks, Minister Wilchcombe explained that much has transpired during the last two years to transform the shipping industry and Bahamians can now appreciate the evolution of NCP.

“It means that we can now bring shipping to a central location and fix the problem that exists,” Minister Wilchcombe said.

NCP boasts of a well trained staff capable of working at any port facility internationally, one of the reasons the port is considered number one in the region in productivity.

“We are very impressed with the facility and to see the tremendous amount of work and professionalism that now exist,” the tourism minister said.

“I think it is something to be proud of.”

But the relocation to Arawak Cay raised the question of whether the port can co-exist with the Fish Fry, considered a popular native spot for tourists and residents.
Understanding that challenge, Mr. Maura told of the collaborative effort between APD and the Fish Fry Association to ensure the safety of patrons.

He told of the introduction of a taxi drop off spot along with various road safety signs as part of an immediate initiative to create a safe environment.

He also introduced the Minister and his team to a conceptual design of a causeway as the southwestern end of the Cay to create a new entrance to the port to eliminate the challenge of having to use the Fish Fry as the gateway to the port.

It is an idea Minister Wilchcombe feels “makes sense” but should be discussed and the feasibility explored to determine what has to happen to make it work.

He believes having “a willing partner it is best to proceed.”

Minister Wilchcombe confirmed that the government is “fully committed” to the further growth and development of the Nassau Container Port.

“But how we proceed I think requires further discussion and working with the partner,” he said.

“Consideration must be given to the growth plans for the island and investments that are currently taking place. The port is a state of the art facility with 400 employees which provides opportunities for expansion. Yes we support it and we want to continue to expand and we have to work with others to ensure that we are doing things that will benefit the entire country.”

The minister’s team that toured the facility and benefitted from the Power Point presentation included Permanent Secretary, Harrison Thompson, Director General Joy Jilibru and Tyrone Sawyer.

The tour was a part of the port’s efforts to forge a closer relationship with the government.

Written by Jones Bahamas

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Watch JCN Channel 14 Shows

Jcn Channel 14

Sign in now to see your channels and recommendations!

Join Us on Facebook