The proposed establishment of a logistical terminal near the Port of Belize

A private company is proposing the establishment of a logistical terminal near the Port of Belize. The idea was pitched to both public and private sector agencies during a two-day closed-door session at the Radisson that ended this afternoon.  The concept is that various businesses within the agro-sector primarily, should invest in a multimillion dollar facility for the exportation of bulk cargo to the international market.  The advantage of building such a port would see a reduction in shipping costs, as well as the expedition of the loading process.  News Five spoke with Arturo Vasquez, C.E.O. of Port Belize Ltd.

Arturo Vasquez, Receiver/C.E.O., Port of Belize Ltd.

“We had started an initiative last year of trying to, well looking at the development of a Belize Logistical Terminal which will be adjacent to the existing port that exists, but of course a totally separate company and operation and investment, so to speak.  We started last year by looking at the existing channel way and the turning basin, we had a survey done to see what existed because it wasn’t dredged for, I think since 2001 or 2002.  So obviously, any new development we would want to do we would have to see whether the dredging is necessary to do improvement dredging and some additional dredging so this project started since last year.”

Isani Cayetano

Arturo Vasquez

“Now I understand you’re meeting with several different stakeholders from the across the agro-industry.  Can you share with me what the initial feedback or response is with regards to what is being proposed and brought to the table?”

Arturo Vasquez

“Well I think everybody is in agreement in saying that there is need for a bulk storage facility and I insist on bulk storage because the current port that we have is specifically a container port and, of course, handling containers has a whole lot more to cost and time than it does in bulk storage facility.  And this initiative we’re looking at is strictly bulk facility and when we deal with bulk facility we’re looking at the agro-sector mainly, you know.  We have been talking to parties like BELTRAIDE; of course, we had to speak with them, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Transport.  We have been talking to B.S.I., A.S.R., Green Tropics, we have been talking to Prosser, we have been talking to the A.D.M. people that import wheat, we’ve been talking to the petroleum industry.  We’ve been speaking with B.N.E.”

Port project seeks partnership of both private and public sector

Once the project comes into fruition, it will be divided into two basic components.  According to Vasquez, there will be an ownership aspect, as well as an operational one in which investors can participate in the running of the operation.

Arturo Vasquez, Receiver/C.E.O., Port of Belize Ltd.

“This is just a proposal.  We are look at it in depth, this is about or third or fourth meeting with all these parties.  What we are looking at really is sort of setting up this thing in a way where it’s a public/private sector investment, really meaning that in the private sector area, of course, we are looking at the bottom line.  The public sector, meaning the government, would have to be looking at the profits they are getting by the overall development and improvements to the entire country and, of course, any agro-productive sector you talk to will tell you that something like this is more than necessary.  So, we are looking at it where we would, we are looking at it in a frame where we are inviting investors, people to be able to invest in this company.  The same operators or the same [people] could become owners of this operation.  We’re looking at separating it in perhaps a landlord development company and then an operational development company which means the landlord development company does the development, the dredging, the building of the infrastructure and then you have the operational company at the side that would be looking at the equipment.”

If given the green light, it is estimated that the project can be completed and become operational with an eighteen-month period.

Channel 5