BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The US$250.8 million Kingstown Port Modernization Project, anticipated to increase trade and export, and drive economic diversification, was officially launched Friday by the government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), the government of the United Kingdom and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
The project involves a major expansion of SVG’s main port facilities including construction of a new cargo port and upgrading of surrounding roadways. The improved amenities will facilitate better access to goods and services and greater economic opportunities for some 110,000 citizens.
The joint initiative is being undertaken with grant financing of £27.7 million (USD36 mn) from the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (UKCIF), administered by the CDB. The bank is providing USD110 million in loan financing, and the government of SVG has allocated USD104.8 million for the project. The venture is the largest project undertaken by the CDB in its 52 years of operation.
Addressing the launch ceremony, held at the existing port site in SVG’s capital city, CDB’s vice president, operations, Isaac Solomon said:
“Improved ports of entry like that planned for St Vincent and the Grenadines are part of the trade ecosystem, and can potentially lead to major and far-reaching positive impacts – by facilitating rising exports, enhanced logistics services and connectivity between production and consumption, economic exchange and market space can be expanded, employment increased, and lives improved.
He added: “The Project is consistent with CDB’s strategic objective of building production resilience and is in keeping with our poverty reduction mandate. CDB remains a long-standing partner of the government, working collaboratively to create a more competitive economy.”
High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Scott Furssedonn-Wood commended prime minister Gonsalves and his government for continuing to advance the port project despite having to manage the devastating eruption of La Soufrière last year and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. He also lauded the government for their continued commitment to the social aspects of the project.
He noted: “This is truly a transformative project, and we are proud to support our Commonwealth partner St Vincent and the Grenadines in this venture. The UK will continue to work in partnership with St Vincent and the Grenadines to support inclusive, resilient growth and other development priorities to improve the lives and prosperity of its people.”
In alignment with the objectives of the UKCIF, the new port will increase SVG’s climate-resilient economic infrastructure. The construction and operation phases will facilitate sustainability including preservation of the marine environment and will promote economic opportunities for people including youth and women.
Training and support will also be provided for relevant project-affected persons. Other anticipated long-term benefits include increased trade, economic diversification, improved efficiency in seaport operations, and enhanced border security, supporting improved social and economic conditions for the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.