Government, China Harbour Agree on Terms for Goat Island Project

Story Highlights

  • The Port Authority of Jamaica and CHEC have arrived at an Initial Framework Agreement regarding the proposed development of Portland Bight/Goat Island.
  • Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, in a statement in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, February 25.
  • The project is currently being envisaged as a large green field project, which will be implemented in phases.

The Port Authority of Jamaica and China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC) have arrived at an Initial Framework Agreement that provides the general terms and conditions under which discussions will continue regarding the proposed development of Portland Bight/Goat Island.

Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, in a statement in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, February 25.

Dr. Davies said that the project is currently being envisaged as a large green field project, which will be implemented in phases. The first phase will include the development of an industrial park and the laying and development of infrastructure facilities.

Dr. Davies explained that the industrial park will carry on the operations associated with storage, assembling and packaging of goods in light industries; heavy industry manufacturing; information technology; and skills training.

“The laying and development of infrastructure facilities (will) include: bridge(s), roads, drives, within the project area; pipelines and water storage facilities; sewer lines and sewer treatment facilities; electricity transmission lines and electricity generation facilities; cable transmission lines; and similar services and facilities contemplated for the project,” he stated.

Other areas include dredging and land reclamation activities to create the port and suitable access channel to the port facility; construction and development of a container terminal with modern fittings, technology and services; and the construction and development of berths of sufficient width, length and depth to accommodate Super Post Panamax vessels.

There will also be the construction of a coal-fired electricity generation plant for the supply of electricity to the facilities comprising the project.

Meanwhile, CHEC, with assistance from Port Authority, has applied to the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) for a Beach Control Licence in order to begin their geotechnical investigation and the engineering survey, which are necessary to determine the feasibility of the project.

Dr. Davies said the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) and Agro Investments Corporation, the owners of the properties, which are under consideration, have agreed for CHEC to enter their properties for the purpose of conducting these investigations.

“The technical feasibility study is expected to be completed by the end of April 2014. The preliminary designs for the first phase of the project will begin immediately thereafter; and is expected to be completed by the end of June this year,” he stated.

“At this stage, it is anticipated that the project will be sufficiently defined to allow CHEC to make a presentation to NEPA, to seek the requisite Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project. And, I must emphasize that it is only after the completion of the EIA will the project be ready to be submitted to Cabinet for a decision,” he added.

The Transport and Works Minister however noted that there are a number of issues, which will need to be addressed prior to signing a binding and definitive framework agreement.

He said this include the acquisition of lands currently owned by the UDC and the Ministry of Agriculture (Agro-Invest and Innswood Estates); and taxes and incentives, which would take into account imminent repeal of the Freezone Act in 2015, and pending decisions regarding the treatment of commercial economic zones.

Dr. Davies also informed that focus will have to be placed on reviewing applicable laws and policy and procedures in light of possible request for citizenship from investors within the project area.

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