Temporary Port Works

Update on Montserrat Port Development Project

The Government of Montserrat hosted its second townhall meeting on the Port Development Project last week at the Montserrat National Trust in Salem.

During the two-hour meeting, representatives from the government and the contractors offered updates on the port project and answered questions which came out of the first townhall in March as well as from those present and watching online.

GOM’s Project Lead Rawlson Patterson reiterated the vision statement that “community progress is our purpose.” To this end, they have been holding focus groups with stakeholders including fisherfolk, swimmers, and others who will be directly impacted by the port development to ensure the “fabric of community is preserved.”

Supervising engineers on the project is the Canadian firm, STANTEC. The Resident Engineer is Robert Bourdages.

BVI-registered Meridian Construction Ltd. won the contract to build the new port funded to the tune of XCD $90,188,920.00. Peter Wattenhofer is the Project Manager for the company.

The area in green is where current dredging works are ongoing. The area in blue is still to be dredged but requires a large vessel scheduled for the end of May to do this.

Patterson’s Key Points

  • Grievance process in place to collect comments and complaints from community impacted by the project
  • Social and gender action plan in place with specialist to ensure gender and social inclusion considered in all aspects of the project. Working with a multi-national company, workers from across the globe. Educating on human trafficking, drug abuse, STDs, etc.
  • Known conflict of operations between cargo and passengers and they are looking at ways to improve the system. International practice is to give passenger vessels to be given priority over cargo vessels. Consideration of cargo vessels to use existing jetty with passenger vessels to use new pier.  Current dredging works will give the existing pier more depth for larger vessels.
  • Coral relocation underway. Moving coral from construction area and below Potato Hill. More than 200 corals identified. The current contractor budget provides for movement of 80+. Additional funds need to be sourced to move the balance.


Outline of where the new pier is to be constructed off of the Little Bay bluff.

According to Robert Bourdages, the Resident Engineer for STANTEC Consulting, which has been involved in the project for four years, the new pier will be smaller than what is currently in Plymouth.

Bourdages’ Key Points

  • The new pier will essentially act as a breakwater due to its height and positioning.
  • The pier will be able to accommodate
    • Mid-size cruise vessels such as Wind Surf
    • 300 passenger ferry
    • Small cruise vessels such as Sea Dream which is 108m long
    • Cargo ships 120m in length
  • After the port is completed, there will be ongoing maintenance to keep the depth of the area around the pier adequate for the vessels.
  • The Little Bay Beach is expected to be calmer, safer and more usable once construction complete.

There is now talk of a Phase 2 which would provide an additional breakwater. No funding currently available for this.

Wattenhofer’s Key Points

  • Dredging of Little Bay around existing pier continues. The main dredging expected to begin at end of the month pending the arrival of the large dredging ship to suck out the sand.
  • Currently building a temporary breakwater and roadway along the coastline to where the pier is to be built to bring in equipment and cranes. The plan to build a small pier at Piper’s Pond staging area has been scrapped.
  • Currently sourcing sand and rock from local sandminers for use in constructing the caissons. The intention is to shift to shipping the sand from Plymouth by barge instead of trucks to reduce road congestion and damage.
  • Test have shown that some local materials are not at the quality needed to meet the standards as laid out in the contract. This will require importation of other aggregate materials. Some adjustments being made to design to use more local materials where possible.
  • Moorings for fishing boats to be moved. Awaiting decision from GOM or where they are to be moved to.
  • Everyone asked to stay outside of buffer zone marked by red MCL buoys.
  • Corals have been more to Carr’s Bay and Rendezvous Bay. There will be inspections to check how they are doing in their new locations.

About the Montserrat Port Development Project

  • 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).

Watch the full townhall session below.