Minister of Public Infrastructure Ian "Patches" Liburd. (FILE)
BASSETERRE – Cruise tourism in St Kitts and Nevis is on the rise, says Minister of Public Infrastructure Ian “Patches” Liburd, and as such there is definitely a need to construct a second cruise pier at Port Zante in Basseterre.
Appearing on Wednesday’s edition of Working for You, Minister Liburd said the second pier will be in an ideal location as it builds upon the infrastructure of the area. He added that the $48 million project will meet the demand to accommodate more and larger cruise liners.
Specifically, the pier will be able to berth two Oasis class vessels, which are the world’s largest and longest passenger ships. In the original plans, the second cruise pier was designed to accommodate one, said the minister.
“The cost moved from $32 million to $48 million. There was a CH2M Hill Report, which said that the designs were incomplete and the design would only be able to accommodate one Oasis class vessel. We said no, we cannot spend that kind of money and not be able to accommodate two. The design of the pier had to be widened and lengthened. We have also included the upgrade of the Amina Craft Market, an area for taxi and tour operators, security and other amenities and a tug. All these are included in that $48 million,” said Minister Liburd.
Plans for the building of the pier also took into consideration withstanding the effects of adverse weather and harsh climate change, said Minister Liburd.
The minister said that cruise ship calls have now moved to 569 calls per year.
Entities financing the project include the St Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank (SKNANB), which has committed US$34 million; the St Kitts and Nevis Social Security Board which has pledged US$7 million; the St Kitts and Nevis Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) with US$5 million and the St Kitts and Nevis Trading and Development Company (TDC) which has committed another US$2 million.
On November 22, 2017, there was an official Contract Signing Ceremony between the St Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA) and the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) for the construction of the second cruise pier at Port Zante. Liburd said that the occasion was visionary.
Liburd stated at the November 22 event that the project, which has been in the works for several years, is necessary for the economic growth and development of the tourism industry and the country as a whole.
The initial plans for the second cruise pier project, which began back in 2012, laid the road map for the current project, which is set to start by the end of the first quarter of 2018. The construction of the pier is expected to be completed within 18 months in time for the 2019 cruise season. (SKNIS)