Monday February 14, 2022 marked a major milestone in the Government of Montserrat’s implementation of the Montserrat Port Development Project – Phase 1.
Meridian Construction Company Limited based in Tortola, British Virgin Islands (BVI) was the successful bidder in a competitive tendering process for the design and construction of the Port Facility in Little Bay, Montserrat. The value of the contract awarded is ninety million, one hundred and eighty-eight thousand, nine-hundred and twenty Eastern Caribbean dollars (XCD $90,188,920.00).
The contract signing is expected to take place later this month, following which it is anticipated that construction work will commence during the first quarter of this year; approximately before March 31, 2022. The construction phase duration is estimated to be approximately 19 months.
Montserrat’s Minister of Works, Dr. the Hon. Samuel Joseph expressed his delight at the progress made on the Port Development Project. He said, “This is a major step towards realizing the Government’s longstanding goal of providing the people of Montserrat with a more efficient and resilient port facility as we continue to advance efforts towards Montserrat’s sustainable development.”
“Reliable access has been a challenge for Montserrat following volcanic eruptions in the 90’s and this feat marks a major turning point for the people of Montserrat especially as it relates to access, tourism potential and trade. Additionally, during the construction phase we expect to see job creation for residents as Meridian Construction is expected to hire local persons and firms during its implementation of the project,” stated Dr. the Hon. Samuel Joseph.
Project Manager for the Montserrat Port Development Project, Mr Dion Weekes, said getting to this point is a significant accomplishment given the various elements and challenges involved in a project of this nature, such as the financial constraints, fitness for purpose design obligations, the social and environmental impacts and mitigation measures.
"The Montserrat Port Development is the largest infrastructure project for the island in post volcanic times. The project's outcome is to provide a port facility that improves the existing conditions, reduces downtime due to unfavourable sea conditions, and allows the berthing of larger ships, overall improving the efficiency of port operations," expressed Mr Weekes.
He added, “This is just the first phase and we can expect that over the years the project will continue to expand as it has been conceptualised in a modular format, allowing for different phases of development and expansion.”
Meridian Construction Company Limited is one of two companies which submitted bids for the design build contract. The company provides civil and marine engineering and construction services in the British Virgin Islands and in the Eastern Caribbean. Most recently, Meridian Construction was the Caribbean marine contractor engaged by the St. John’s Development Corporation Heritage Quay, Antigua to undertake the construction of the Heritage Quay Cruise Pier to accommodate the berthing of Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas on the northern side of the pier.
The Montserrat Port Development Project is being funded by the UK Government through £14.4 million grant funding by the UK Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (UKCIF), which is administered by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The UK Government has further demonstrated their strong commitment to the Montserrat Port Development and has taken the decision to increase their support by an additional £13.9 million, to a total of £28.3 million for the proposed port development at Little Bay.
The Government of Montserrat is providing £7 million in counterpart resources with financial support from the European Union under the EDF 11.
The implementing agencies from the Government of Montserrat are the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management and the Ministry of Communication, Works, Labour and Energy.
The Scope of Works for the Montserrat Port Development Project will entail the following:
The Governor is delighted that a contract for design and construction of a new jetty in Little Bay has been signed, following a further large grant of funds by the British Government. This is a crucial piece of infrastructure for Montserrat, which will bolster our resilience and our communications with the region. It has taken longer than it should and there are important lessons to be learned. But it is a testament to steadfast UK support for Montserrat, even in these stretched and turbulent times of Covid.
The Governor warmly thanks all those involved, in the Government and wider community of Montserrat, in the FCDO, including the Caribbean Infrastructure team in Barbados, the Caribbean Development Bank and in the Governor's Office, which has played an important role ensuring proper understanding of the issues.