Black Immigrant Daily News
The construction of a deep-water harbour linking Guyana with Brazil is still high on the agenda and according to President Dr. Irfaan Ali, overtures have been made to Brazil’s incoming new President, Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva, for a bilateral meeting.
President Ali made these revelations during the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) awards ceremony and dinner on Friday. According to the President, work is actively ongoing behind the scenes, to make this project a reality.
“We’re now working, very actively, on ensuring that Guyana will have and must have our own deep-water harbour. That deep water harbour must be connected to Brazil. And must be built as the premier logistics and trans-shipment hub, for the Caribbean, going up North connecting Brazil. That is the business model.”
“I’ve already requested, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a bilateral with the new President of Brazil. Because we have to start very early, to ensure that timelines are not missed. Because the next eight years is basically the timeline,” President Ali said.
Earlier this year, the deep-water harbour was among the topics discussed when President Ali welcomed his Brazilian counterpart, President Jair Bolsonaro, in Georgetown for a one-day visit. High on the agenda were talks on the integration of infrastructure, energy security and expanding trade arrangements and opportunities.
On the issue of infrastructure development, President Ali had explained in brief remarks at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC), where a high-level caucus was held between the two delegations, that the focus was on integrated critical projects such as the deep-water port, the road-rail link, fiber optic connectivity, development of an energy in corridor, the creation of a free zone, and the linkage of natural resource development.
Moreover, a joint statement on the high-level visit revealed that during the engagement, President Ali had stressed that the establishment of a deep-water port in Guyana, linked with a future road corridor, could have a beneficial impact on the development of trade between the two South American nations and beyond. It was in this context that the possibility of a complementary rail link between the two countries was raised.
According to the missive, both Presidents Ali and Bolsonaro acknowledged the pivotal importance of infrastructure integration to further unlocking the potential of the two neighbouring countries and the wider region.
To this end, the bilateral working group was established and tasked with assessing the potential gains of a Boa Vista-Georgetown Road corridor in terms of trade and investment flows, as well as identifying possible needs of technical assistance and potential private partners and international financial institutions that could contribute to the initiative.
The teams from both sides were instructed to settle the measures necessary to enable the full implementation of the Guyana-Brazil International Road Transportation Agreement. They also agreed to advance the process of implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in November 2020 for the Technical Feasibility Studies for the installation of a fibre optic link between Guyana and Brazil.
Back in 2018, there was a technical cooperation agreement, with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) acting as the executing agency for the consultants who were tasked with various feasibility studies for a Guyana-Brazil land transport link and deep-water harbour project.
Deepwater Port Location Optimization Studies were being conducted by Maritime & Transport Business Solutions (MTBS), while Strategic Environmental and Social Studies were being done by the RINA Group. Meanwhile, Guyana-Brazil Border Studies were being undertaken by Estudios, Proyectos y Planificación (EPYPSA).
President Ali has previously also indicated that Guyana has gotten serious interest from Abu Dhabi Ports, a United Arab Emirates-based company that deals in industrial zones and logistics, in establishing a deep-water facility in Berbice, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne). In fact, a technical team from the company visited in September 2021 and compiled technical information on the project.
Meanwhile, Canadian company, CGX Energy Inc, is currently constructing a deep-water port facility of its own in Berbice. CGX’s US$130 million Berbice Deep-Water Port has been in the works since 2010.
CGX’s subsidiary, Grand Canal Industrial Estates Inc (GCIE), has been engaged in civil works related to the construction of the port, which intends to serve as an offshore supply base for the oil and gas industry, and as a multi-purpose terminal cargo handling base to service agricultural import/export, containerized and specialized cargo.