PORT ST. MAARTEN – The resurfacing of 4000 square meters at Port St. Maarten’s cargo container terminal is currently underway for an investment of approximately US$400,000. The contract was awarded after evaluation of the tender. Six contracting companies were invited and the winning bid was submitted by Caribbean General Contactors N.V. (CGC).
The works commenced mid-July and should be completed by the start of the peak season. The resurfacing of the 4000 square meter area will further enhance Port St. Maarten’s platform efficiency and excellence.
The storm surge from Hurricane Irma in September damaged part of the brick platform at the cargo terminal, and Port Management along with the Supervisory Board of Directors took the decision to build back better post-Irma by resurfacing the area with a 30cm thick slab of concrete that would ensure port facility durability in the event of future storm surges caused by hurricanes of a similar strength passing the country.
The area being resurfaced is a main transportation lane for container trucks and Top-loaders. Cargo terminal facilities at the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facilities are 95 per cent operational post-Irma.
Repairs to the lighting infrastructure are also taking place at the cargo terminal and will be completed within the coming weeks.
This is the beginning of Port St. Maarten’s transition from brick platforms to concrete that will further enhance operational efficiency and is part of a long-term capital investment strategy.
The cargo terminal has grown based on customers’ needs over the years making the Cargo section a regional sub-hub for container transshipment, serving both a wide range of international carriers as well as the all-important domestic market.
“We are preparing our facilities to be able to handle the additional traffic that will be forthcoming as the rebuilding of the country continues based on the release of additional insurance monies and rebuilding funds from the Government of the Netherlands becoming available for various projects related to building back better.
“The Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facilities are the gateway or main entry of the majority of aggregates, building materials, food, dry and consumer goods needed by the islanders imported by sea.
“We have to ensure that our facilities are able to withstand major hurricanes and when the all clear has been given after the passing of a storm, we are back in operation to provide the necessary logistics for cargo movements for on-island customer’s and the surrounding islands,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Wednesday.
Port St. Maarten Management and the Supervisory Board adds that many discussions took place about transitioning from bricks to concrete, and the resurfacing project is a major investment that eliminates issues for the long-term ensuring sustainability and resilience.
Port Management and Supervisory Board: “Port St. Maarten is making investments for the future in order for the port to continue to remain a competitive top transshipment hub in the North Eastern Caribbean.
“Port St. Maarten has a track record and a reputation of being a reliable partner with a serious and dedicated staff who have contributed to the success of cargo operational excellence.”
In the post-Irma era, cargo operations at Port St. Maarten have shown double-digit figures – close to 20 per cent increase in imports double digit increase in trans-shipment – in 2018 in comparison to the first quarter (Q.1 January to March) of 2017.
Transshipment cargo continues to bolster the hub function of the port with the Caribbean region and the double-digit figure trend is expected to continue.
The double-digit growth has resulted in Port St. Maarten’s local business partners and concessionaires responsible for stevedoring and trucking logistics, making considerable investments into newer equipment for a better efficient turnaround time where customers are concerned.
Port St. Maarten Management will continue to work closely with stakeholders for a quick container turnaround.
PHOTO CUTLINE: Cargo Platform area at the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facility.