The Belize Port Authority has begun work on a plan of action, or Port Policy, to oversee port operations across the country. Belize will be divided into three distinct zones, otherwise known as complexes. The northern complex encompasses the Belize City harbor and includes the Port of Belize Limited and Fort Street Tourism Village. There is also a central complex which is comprised of Commerce Bight and a southern complex which is Port of Big Creek and Harvest Caye. This morning, consultations were held with various stakeholders in order to gain a better understanding of how this will all be organized, recognizing that ninety percent of goods and services are imported via these harbors.

Ret. Major Gilbert Suazo, Ports Commissioner, Belize Port Authority

"Over eighty to ninety percent of the goods and services that come into Belize come through ports and also, over seventy to eighty percent of the passengers that travel into the country also come through ports. Currently we do have ports within Belize which is very important to the national economy and the growth of this country, and so it is then that the Belize Port Authority Board and the management of port authority deemed it necessary to develop a policy that will sort of guide the direction of in terms of properly regularizing the port but also to be able to give guidance as to the development and construction of any new port that should come into the respective complexes. The National Port Policy is looking to establish what we consider to be port complexes. There is a northern port complex which involves all those ports, the cargo ports and the cruise ports that are within the Belize City harbor. There is a central complex which involves the Commerce Bight port and there is a southern complex which involves, includes rather, the Harvest Caye port and the Port of Big Creek which is cargo. So that's both passenger and cargo port in the port complex and then cargo and passenger in the northern complex. And again, the idea is to have a sort of a mixed complex in the central mixed port, in the central complex."

Port Policy Will Address Cruise Ports Too

In Belize District, three other cruise terminals which are also port facilities are in the works. According to Retired Major Gilbert Suazo, Port Commissioner, Port Coral which is the Stake Bank project is the only license holder for a cruise terminal. The proposed Waterloo and Port of Magical Belize developments are yet to seek licenses for their respective projects.

Ret.) Major Gilbert Suazo, Ports Commissioner, Belize Port Authority

"The Port of Belize Limited has a license to operate a cargo port within the northern port complex. We also do have the Port Coral that also has a license for cruise terminal port. As it relates to any other port, whether it is Port of Magical Belize and the Waterloo [project] that is in or aligned with the Port of Belize Limited, the Port Authority does not have any license for those ports at all and none of those ports have made any application to the Port Authority specifically to construct or operate a port at this time. What the port policy sets out to do is to provide technical guidance to our leaders with a view then that given all the technical specs and variables for us to be careful in relation of going from underdevelopment to overdevelopment. So the port policy seeks then to sort of give some guidance in relation to that fact, so that then we seriously consider how much more cruise ports we will have within either of the complexes. So it is then that we are at this time recommending that there is going to be the current cargo port and one cruise terminal. That is the recommendation that we are making at this time and we believe that it ought to be in that light; however, if and when there is any additional guidance considering the fact that they are likely two other projects then we will have to seriously look at those and finalize what the way ahead will be."

Channel 5