Upgraded cargo port at St. John’s open for business

Antigua and Barbuda Port Authority Chief Executive Officer, Darwin Telemaque was clearly a happy man when he welcomed guests to the formal opening ceremony of the upgraded St. John’s cargo port in December 2022.

In greeting local and invited officials, including Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne and Chinese Ambassador to Antigua and Barbuda, Zhang Yanling, he described the occasion as “the greatest moment of the Antigua and Barbuda Port Authority, thus far”.

The upgrading and expansion of the port of St. John’s, in which he said $90 million was invested, got started on January 15, 2018. A project under China’s Belt and Road Initiative, construction was assigned to China Civil Engineering Construction Corp. It was largely financed by the Export-Import Bank of China with a concessional loan.

“I am publicly announcing that we are not just opening the Antigua and Barbuda Port Authority but, we are adding this marketing and promotional piece: the logistics and transport hub of the OECS”, Telemaque declared. Achievement of this objective, he said, will require the establishment of partnerships. with ‘sister Ports’; with established regional and global carriers; and with local and regional partners.

Telemaque said the port facility is equipped with all that is basically required to become a major subregional transshipment hub. However, he said, there are some issues that would have to be addressed, including:

  • acquisition of appropriate equipment and modern industry compliant technology;
  • upgrading the workforce;
  • constructing a technology-driven trade facilitation platform; and,
  • establishment of private-public partnerships where feasible.

As regards the sustaining self-reliance, the Antigua and Barbuda Port Authority CEO indicated that a government-appointed committee had developed plans to address potentials in transshipment; bunkering; empty container storage; modern digital gate management systems; and, Cold Ironing*. []

*The process by which ships docked use electrical power supplied by the port from shore-based generators, rather than power generated by the ship’s engines,

  • First published May 1, 2023.

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