By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
Prime Minister Perry Christie said yesterday that his administration has “remained in dialogue” with Hutchison Whampoa and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) over the $250 million Freeport Container Port expansion, which will likely be incorporated into post-Hurricane Matthew repairs.
“My government has remained in dialogue with Hutchison Ports and MSC on the Phase Five expansion of the Container Port which, as a result of the damages and setback resulting from Hurricane Matthew, the objective is to incorporate the expansion into the repairs which are underway,” said Mr Christie told the Grand Bahama Business Outlook conference.
Hutchison Whampoa had initially wanted “certainty” that Freeport’s expiring investment incentives would be extended before committing to the Container Port expansion and other potential projects. The Government has since extended those tax breaks for another 20 years.
Following the Prime Minister’s presentation, the site of the proposed $200 million Carnival Cruise port was sought. The Minister for Grand Bahama, Dr Michael Darville, indicated it would be located two-and-a-half to three miles west of Statoil on private land.
Prime Minister Perry Christie has said publicly that the signing of the cruise port agreement between the Government and Carnival is imminent.
Carnival has been searching for its own Bahamas cruise port/private island for some time, as it seeks to match rivals who already possess such facilities. Concerns have been raised over the potential economic impact of such a development on Freeport tourism service operators.