China Harbour lands US$40m deal in the Bahamas
China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), which is undertaking a five-year road works programme in Jamaica, has signed a US$40 million agreement with the government of the Bahamas for the financing of two infrastructural projects.
The agreement was signed last Thursday.
The loan will be used to finance the construction of the North Abaco Port and Little Abaco Bridge in the Bahamas. The project will be executed by CHEC, which was chosen by the Bahamian Ministry of Public Works and Transport, according to a release from the firm’s regional headquarters in Kingston.
The debt will attract interest rate of two per cent annually and is expected to be repaid over 20 years.
"By implementing the bridge, the environmental damage created by the causeway will be restored, allowing natural tidal flows and fish migration,” the release quoted the Bahamas Minister of Foreign Affairs, Brent Symonette, as saying.
“We are appreciative of the high level of economic cooperation which exists between our two countries,” he said, adding that “this cooperation is undergirded by ever strengthening cultural and educational exchanges, and commercial and investment undertakings.”
CHEC said the total sum granted the Bahamas by the Chinese now stands at $109 million.
The North Abaco project will see the construction of a port covering a total of 45 acres, which will house both international and domestic cargo upon completion.
The port will also contain a marina with fueling and boat maintenance facilities, as well as office spaces for rental.
It will also accommodate administrative offices for immigration and customs personnel, the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force.
CHEC said the second project will be the building of a bridge on the S.C Bottle Highway, which will link Great Abaco to Little Islands, replacing the existing Angel Fish Creek causeway.
“China Harbour is pleased to be the contractors of both projects that will help to improve the livelihood of Bahamians and the successes of the Bahamas as a nation,” the release said.
This port will provide a more convenient location for boat repairs and maintenance for vessel owners within the Caribbean as the facilities will be in closer proximity that those often used in Florida, CHEC said.
The engineering firm established its regional headquarters in Kingston in April 2010 after being appointed general contractor for the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme, a five-year road work project funded by the China EXIM Bank.
CHEC has also been granted the contract for the Palisadoes shoreline protection and rehabilitation project, which involves the construction of a sea revetment and lifting the stretch of road that runs between the Caribbean Sea and Kingston Harbour.
The US$65.4-million project is also 85 per cent financed by China EXIM Bank.
In July last year the company reached an agreement with the Cayman government for the construction of two cruise ship piers and repairs to a jetty and landing facility to accommodate mega-cruise liners calling at Grand Cayman.
The value of those projects was not disclosed.
CHEC said it has expertise in engineering as well as project management and was willing to invest financially in the region.
Last November, the company also announced that it has been hired by the Guyanese government to expand the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, named for a former president.
The Chinese construction company said the project would be funded by the China ExIm Bank at US$138 million.