Strategic Development Plan of Big Creek Port Revealed (Belize)

Banana Enterprises Limited is currently engaged in the development and expansion of its port facility in Big Creek.

The Port of Big Creek is now seeking to improve its product offering by upgrading existing facilities, onshore and offshore, in an effort to balance the pendulum of capacity and demand.

These upgrades and expansions include the construction of a berthing facility, a deck barge, upgrading of existing berths, additional equipment, deepening of existing channel, and replacement of maritime buoys and navigation markers.

The total estimated cost of these improvements is BZ$30M with works on the berth, barge and channel deepening to begin within the first twelve months at a capital outlay of approximately BZ$8M or 27% of total project cost.

The existing channel with a depth of 22.1 feet (6.7 meters) and a width of 207.9 feet (63 meters) will now be dredged to increase the depth and width of the channel to 36 feet (11meters) deep and 396 feet (120 meters) wide.

In an effort to minimize cost, shareholders are of the opinion that significant savings can be accrued with the acquisition of a suitable dredge for the work at hand and the employment of a capable experienced crew to do the dredging.

Shareholders have also considered the financial implications of having a sunken investment cost in a dredge but have been able to mitigate that disadvantage with the view that several other possibilities exist for future use of the equipment as the port continues to employ the concept of “kaizen”, the process of continuous improvement.

The new channel width of 120 meters will allow cargo vessels a turning basin of approximately 500 sq. meters. In addition:

• Total length of the navigation channel will be increased by 1.8 nautical miles from 1.5 nautical miles to 3.3 nautical miles.

• Length of fendered quay will be increased from 1,006.5 feet (305 meters) by an additional 825 feet (250 meters), for a total of 1,831.5 feet (555 feet).

• Alongside docking depth will be increased from 6.7 meters deep to 11 meters below Chart Datum.

The dredging and channel expansion will open new opportunities for the Port as well as for Belize’s economic performance.

To assist the company in making this infrastructural upgrade viable, Banana Enterprises Limited (Port of Big Creek) is seeking external financing at very preferential rates.

The Port of Big Creek is Belize’s first privately owned port. In addition it is the only port where cargo vessels can dock alongside the mainland, securely moored at any of the two available berths. This is a huge advantage and offers numerous cost saving opportunities. The Port’s services include tug and barge, piloting and navigation, security, stevedoring, property rental, and shipping.

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Source: Port of Big Creek, July 14, 2010

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