Fifth Berth Opening Ceremony Expected To Take Place Next Month

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POINTE XPRESS: Work on the fifth berth is close to completion as Cabinet has announced a prospective timeline for its opening ceremony.

This ceremony is expected to coincide with the country’s hosting of the OECS Ministers of Tourism meeting from 1st to 3rd December.

The latest Cabinet notes suggested that the fifth berth would be launched at this time to celebrate “the enormous effort to ensure that Antigua can accommodate the Oasis Class Ships”.

The berth itself was completed last February, but the official opening has been delayed several times due to the dredging at the harbour which will allow the country to accommodate Oasis Class ships.

On Thursday, however, Information Minister Melford Nicholas said while the dredging completed is still insufficient to accommodate Oasis Class ships, the harbour can now welcome much larger vessels than the country has before.

“The dredging of the harbour is nearing completion. There are a couple of events that will take place. The christening of the new berth, as it were, we will be able to have that event but early in the new year in January.

“There will be a larger than previously received craft that will come here and it would not have been able to travel here if not the channel been open but it is still not at the stage were we will be able to accommodate the Oasis Class ships.

“I think that the work is nearly 90 percent complete and the good news is Blue Ocean which is the dredging company has indicated that they are encountering softer material so hopefully it translates into an accelerated timeline at which the work can be done…and we anticipate that very early on in the new year the work will be completed and at some point, in time, the maiden voyage of the Oasis Class ships will be able to accommodate it here in Antigua,” Nicholas clarified.

This is welcome news for those within the cruise tourism sector in Antigua and Barbuda as Oasis Class ships will significantly boost the recovering economy.

The Royal Caribbean-owned ships are the largest in the world and can carry more than 6000 passengers and crew.

This staggering figure is exceedingly attractive to countries like Antigua and Barbuda which depend on tourism.

The new pier is part of a US$80 million agreement signed in 2019 between Global Ports Holding (GPH) and the government to redevelop the cruise complex.

The completed port project will also see new shopping and restaurant facilities as well as 50,000 square feet of additional commercial space which will be available for lease.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Could someone,anyone tell me,what does Antigua gained from those Cruise Ships entering the Port. The Capital City,sure looks run down based on what I did see last month. Paint the buildings around the City to look fresh and beautiful. First impression is a lasting impression.

    • The money that solid waste use to pay its workers come from cruise ship head-tax, taxi drivers build apartments, their homes and other businesses while sending their kids to school, also the beach bars sells to the tourist on at the beaches while the beach chair vendor rents his/her chairs – the water sports man also bingo when these ships hits our shores

      • ALL of Administrations need to put measures in place to make sure the City looks presentable. It is dirty all around.You have been saying Tourism is your number one Industry.If that is so clean the damn place up.

    • We gain revenue for each person that disembark the ship with a head tax, berting fees, as well as other services rendered such as fueling and garbage disposal.

    • @Bugsy!
      Are you a political bloodhunter or something!?!?!? I can not believe someone with commonsense would ask, “what does Antigua gained from those Cruise Ships entering the Port”. Come on man! Do you know home much they have to pay for docking fees? Do you know how taxi drivers murmur and can’t sleep at nights when no ships coming? Do you know how much these ships pay to fuel up in Antigua? Do you know how much people they drive all over the country to the different excursions (Stingray City, English Harbor, Zip Lining, Kayaking, Shirley’s Heights Lookout, Etc..); but needless to mention the restaurant activities in those areas and the shopping activities at Heritage Quay. All that I mentioned here is facts. Regardless of Red or Blue so it shows that you are a hater deep withing. Minds like yours are not good for the country and is more damaging than bad politicians. Cruise ship days in Antigua are some of the single biggest economic activity days on the island; another “fact”. You stated a fact about the city. But note again that it is the same crumbling city for many years, Red or Blue. And if the PM don’t focus his next term on improve the city’s façade and infrastructure then he need to be under fire at the polls for it. Private business need to step up too. All that is been done to get the tourists here to bring the $$$ is a great focus of investments. But once the $$$ stated coming, next thing is to focus on the people, starting with the city.

      • @Coin Dadly: Where are those monies being spent? Global Ports are the ones making those darn monies,not the Administration.I am so happy to poke your ego. You are so blinded by Politics. You cannot not see the forest for the trees.

    • #Bugsy…please tell them that again, and also clean up many of those trenches and gutters around town that’s so damn smelly and filthy. What do they think tourist should think when they visit?

  2. There is no linkages with agriculture tourism. The capital city of St.John’s needs to be looked after badly. Too many rundown buildings. The place needs a face lift badly. What about the botanical garden. Tourism, Agriculture, Environment, PWD should combine forces and clean up the botanical Garden. The Governor General this is a project for his excellency, both historical and futuristic.

    • @Frankly Speaking-
      Per your statement, “There is no linkages with agriculture tourism.”
      This is foolishness you chatting!
      Jump in your can and drive to all the hotels at breakfast, lunch and dinner times.
      There you will see how much fruits, vegetables and sea food are in those plates. Do you know how many local farmers have hotel contracts to supply produce and seafood. Hotel activities is the biggest linkage to agriculture in Antigua; “fact”. One does not even need to attend primary school to see this as fact. It is so huge that foreign source is needed to help fill the supplies.

  3. Good news, and since it will be such big deal for the country, then I don’t expect to hear de ordinarily man, involved in the tourism trade, whining/complaining about life hard, anymore.
    But let’s just wait and see.

  4. COIN DADLY – you don’t even know what you are speaking about. More then 99% of the food on the tourist plate are imported. Do you know what is our food import bill? Fact – more than 75% of the tourists dollar leave this shore both in fuel so we need to go into solar charge vechicle, the materials the vendors craft on, the cooking gas , stove, pots , plates, cups, glasses, folks, soap liquid and I can go on on and on. Then most of the top earning employees – managers, chefs, food and beverage managers are expats – sending their fat salaries back home. Our people are not getting these top jobs after our tax dollars are spent to educate them.
    Our agriculture production is not consistent – our farmers need consistent quantity and quality of water to produce. This is not the case since we suffer from prolonged drought and inconsistent agriculture production. Right now a pound of tomatoes is between 9 to 10 dollars at the public market. So to develop agriculture to tourism linkages our water problem must be addressed. The only area in the agriculture sector that is said we are almost self sufficient in is poultry- eggs and even in that area the food takes up more than 80 percent of the overall cost. Again the egg boxes etc are all imported.
    Finally I am not red or blue, I am Antiguan. I vote on issues and have voted for both major political parties. All I am saying is that we need to keep a much higher percentage of the tourism dollar and need to grow better linkage (since you say they are ) with the agriculture sector. This will need better long term planning. Not politics/ FACTS!

  5. We need to start at the top of the economic chain. Concessions and tax exemptions must cease when the profits are kept abroad as is now done by all of the hotels and tourism revenue operating foreign entities. Packages are made and paid for abroad, remitting only operating expenses to our region. It’s a win win for them and only ‘jabs’ for us!

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