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Ponce Receives $32 Million Assignment To Dredge Transshipment Port’s Bay

Another $40 million credit line will be used to begin restoration of piers


March 13, 2003
Copyright © 2003 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

The Municipality of Ponce will receive a $32 million assignment today to dredge the bay in front of Piers 3 to 7 to a depth of 49 feet.

The removal of more than 800,000 cubic yards of dredged materials from the harbor’s navigation channel and berthing areas must wait until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issues a final permit for their disposal on a site south of Ponce.

Ponce Mayor Rafael "Churumba" Cordero announced the start of the rehabilitation of the transshipment port’s piers with a $40 million credit line from the Puerto Rico Government Development Bank. The project also entails adding four gantry cranes to handle large container ships’ cargo.

"Work on the Port of the Americas in ongoing," said Port of the Americas Manager & Pridco Executive Director Hector Jimenez Juarbe. "Ponce’s transshipment port activities could be ready as early as mid-2005, if we receive the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ final approval on the revised Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) by the end of this year. Piers 3 to 7 would then be ready to receive Panamax and post-Panamax ships while dredging continues and an additional 1,300-linear-foot-long wharf is added to Pier 8’s 600 linear feet, at a cost of $382 million."

According to Jimenez Juarbe, the government has spent $10 million (assigned during the Rossello administration) on development contracts and studies for the transshipment port. Future expenditures include $38.7 million assigned by Gov. Sila Calderon in 2002 as part of infrastructure improvements to the western region and $3.7 million budgeted for fiscal year 2004.

"Approximately $1.5 million has already been committed to a number of studies and ongoing contracts," said Jimenez Juarbe, "including a business plan being prepared by New York-based coastal engineering & planning firm Moffat & Nichol Engineers with the help of our transshipment port consultants from the United Kingdom, Ocean Shipping Consultants."

In June, the government will invite port operators to witness the progress of the transshipment port’s initial development phase. Afterward, a new request for proposals will be published to choose the Port of the Americas’ operator.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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