Meridian Construction Company Limited based in Tortola, British Virgin Islands (BVI) has been named as the successful bidder in a competitive tendering process for the design and construction of the Port Facility in Little Bay, Montserrat. The value of the contract awarded is ninety million, one hundred and eighty-eight thousand, nine-hundred and twenty Eastern Caribbean dollars (XCD $90,188,920.00).
According to a government release, the contract signing is expected to take place later this month, following which it is anticipated that construction work will commence during the first quarter of this year; approximately before March 31, 2022. The construction phase duration is estimated to be approximately 19 months.
Montserrat’s Minister of Works, Dr. the Hon. Samuel Joseph expressed his delight at the progress made on the Port Development Project. He said, “This is a major step towards realizing the Government’s longstanding goal of providing the people of Montserrat with a more efficient and resilient port facility as we continue to advance efforts towards Montserrat’s sustainable development.”
“Reliable access has been a major challenge for Montserrat following volcanic eruptions in the 90’s and this feat marks a major turning point for the people of Montserrat especially as it relates to access, tourism potential and trade. Additionally, during the construction phase we expect to see job creation for residents as Meridian Construction is expected to hire local persons and firms during its implementation of the project,” stated Dr. the Hon. Samuel Joseph.
Project Manager for the Montserrat Port Development Project, Mr. Dion Weekes, said getting to this point is a significant accomplishment given the various elements and challenges involved in a project of this nature, such as the financial constraints, fitness for purpose design obligations, the social and environmental impacts and mitigation measures.
“The Montserrat Port Development is the largest infrastructure project for the island in post volcanic times. The project’s outcome is to provide a port facility that improves the existing conditions, reduces downtime due to unfavourable sea conditions, and allows the berthing of larger ships overall improving the efficiency of port operations,” expressed Mr. Weekes.
He added, “This is just the first phase and we can expect that over the years the project will continue to expand as it has been conceptualised in a modular format, allowing for different phases of development and expansion.”
Meridian Construction Company Limited is one of two companies which submitted bids for the design build contract. The company provides civil and marine engineering and construction services in the British Virgin Islands and in the Eastern Caribbean. Most recently, Meridian Construction was the Caribbean marine contractor engaged by the St. John’s Development Corporation Heritage Quay, Antigua to undertake the construction of the Heritage Quay Cruise Pier to accommodate the berthing of Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas on the northern side of the pier.
The Montserrat Port Development Project is being funded by the UK Government through £14.4 million grant funding by the UK Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (UKCIF), which is administered by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The UK Government have further demonstrated their strong commitment to the Montserrat Port Development and have taken the decision to increase their support by an additional £13.9 million to a total of £28.3 million for the proposed port development at Little Bay.
The Government of Montserrat is providing £7 million in counterpart resources with financial support from the European Union under the EDF 11.
The implementing agencies from the Government of Montserrat are the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management and Ministry of Communication, Works, Labour and Energy.
The Scope of Works for the Montserrat Port Development Project will entail the following:
• A combined offshore breakwater and Pier structure consisting of a steel sheet pile wall and cylindrical steel piles.
• A ramp for roll-on / roll-off (ro-ro) cargo (23 m wide);
• Approximately 75m of breakwater protection along the sea-side of the Pier, with access to shore via a causeway. The berth will have a 130 m long berth face and an apron width of 20 m;
• A 10 m wide two-lane access road along the south side of Rendezvous Hill to the land start of the breakwater;
• Slope stabilization and shore protection works; and
• Dredging works to form a turning basin and approach channel with a water depth of -8 m chart datum (CD).