Montserrat’s new port to boost trade opportunities
Little Bay harbour in Montserrat

The recent breaking of ground to start construction for a US$46-million port in Montserrat is to increase accessibility and improve trade opportunities for the island.

In the wake of supply chain conundrums and other backlogs across ports globally, the Government of Montserrat said that the build-out of this new infrastructure will improve the efficiency, effectiveness and resilience of port facilities whilst providing a safe harbour and accessibility to all users. Its climate-resilient facilities will also enhance the delivery of port services, increase accessibility to the island and improve the country’s connectivity with the rest of the world.

“Montserrat will also benefit from better access to goods and services for citizens, expanded economic activity and increased trade,” its Government said.

The project is being financed with over US$36 million in grant funding from the United Kingdom through its Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (UKCIF), administered by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and is also supported with US$9.2 million in funding from the government of Montserrat.

TUCKER...this investment in the port infrastructure will provide a safe, secure, modern and green facility for the island to improve access for all marine traffic, be that cargo vessels or cruise ships

Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony held at the Montserrat Port Authority in Little Bay this week, CDB’s vice-president in charge of operations Isaac Solomon said that countries in this global environment must be able to trade efficiently if they are to prosper.

“The Montserrat Port Development Project will be one of the largest projects implemented in Montserrat in recent times and, on completion, it is expected that this new facility will provide direct, positive impacts on the economy through the potential for increased employment, improved productivity, and overall improvements in the business environment in Montserrat,” he said.

“Reliable access has been a challenge for Montserrat following volcanic eruptions in the 90s and this feat marks a major turning point for the people of Montserrat especially as it relates to access, tourism potential and trade,” added Dr Samuel Joseph, minister of works.

Following the mid-90s Soufriere Hills volcano eruptions, the main port at Little Bay was buried and although a small emergency jetty was constructed in 1997, a new permanent harbour is required to provide an essential component of the tourism industry and growth of commercial trade for the island.

The UKCIF, which provides grant funding for climate-resilient infrastructure projects, currently supports some nine Caribbean countries from a £350 million in funds earmarked for these developments.

“The UK Government understands how pivotal the Little Bay Port Development Project is for Montserrat’s revitalisation, economic development, and sustainability,” Sarah Tucker, governor of Montserrat, said.

“This investment in the port infrastructure will provide a safe, secure, modern and green facility for the island to improve access for all marine traffic, be that cargo vessels or cruise ships. This port will provide a vital pillar of infrastructure to underpin our economic growth, enabling development in tourism, trade and accessibility,” she stated.

During the construction phase of the project, it is further estimated that the project will create employment and generate business in construction, as well as other related sectors of the economy including retail, housing, hotel and rental accommodation, and food and beverage services.

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