Representatives from the Belize Port Authority announced plans
to complete the San Pedro Port located on the Southwest corner of Ambergris
Caye. The Port has been partially completed for over a year, yet barges and
other vessels refuse to use the new location claiming the channel to reach
the port is too shallow. So far, over three million dollars have been spent
on the port. It is estimated it will cost a million dollars more to complete
Ports Commissioner Major Lloyd Jones and Chairman of
Ports Authority, Fred Hunter Sr. were the guest speakers at the Ambergris
Caye Chamber of Commerce meeting last Thursday. During the meeting, they
answered questions and shared plans to make the port operational.
Major Jones explained that the completion of the San
Pedro Port will be conducted in four phases. The first phase, which is
scheduled to begin in four months, will include making the channel deeper
and wider in order to allow barges access to the port. The dock will be
expanded and a 3,200 square foot Port Authority administration building will
be constructed. It will also include the creation of an industrial park that
will consist of one and two acre sites and another area to store hundreds of
containers and other materials.
When this phase is completed, barges that are
currently using the area on the east side of the island in the middle of San
Pedro Town will be required to use the new port. Major Jones said he will be
meeting with barge operators on September 19th to discuss the fees and
logistics for using the new port.
The second phase of the new port will be completed
approximately three months after the completion of phase one. At this time
the port should be prepared to handle all barges and the Port Authority will
make it illegal for any barges to unload on the front of the island. This
will not affect those barges that deliver to construction sites which are on
the north side of the island that are only accessible by sea. However, the
size of the barges that deliver to the north side will be limited to the
Phases three and four are enhancements of the first
phases including expanding the marina and adding additional sites in the
industrial park. Eventually, pre-fabricated buildings will be available to
Revenues from the industrial park will help pay for
the project. Mr Fred Hunter Sr. explained that they are planning to have
storage facilities that will provide service around the clock located at the
port. These storage facilities should cost about $600 a month. Dangerous
chemicals can be stored as well as anything else. There will also be a
marina and dock yard to store and repair boats. He added that this location
will be well lit and have security.
Eventually, there will be a customs office at this
port that should make things much easier for local residents to have items
shipped directly to the island and be able to pay there duty and avoid trips
to Belize City.
Ports Commissioner Major Lloyd Jones is in charge of
the supervision of all six ports in Belize which includes their safety and
protection. He also deals with environmental issues but that most of those
issues must go through the Department of the Environment.
Maritime 999 Activated
The National Maritime Communication Center has been
activated and any distress calls can made to phone number 999 all day, every
day, stated Ports Commissioner Major Lloyd Jones to the Ambergergris Caye
Chamber of Commerce on last Thursday's meeting. He said his office is using
Maritime Search and Rescue and marine radios and are listening all day on
the distress channel # 16. There will be a Ports Authority Office set up at
this port as well. The Ports Authority licenses shipping agents and are
capable of dealing with any shipping problems.