FRENCH GUIANA: Port upgrade underway… ‘strategic project’ for transformation

2015 February: On the first day of 2015, the fledgling Port Authority of French Guiana celebrated its second anniversary but, it was already well into one of the largest ever port development projects the country has so far witnessed.

Last year, the Port of French Guiana started an ambitious programme which will improve infrastructure, upgrade and expand facilities and services. It carried the title: Strategic Project of the port for the period 2014-2018.

The plans address the physical, operational and financial arrangements for implementation over five years.

It includes, inter alia:

  • rehabilitation of facilities including docks;

and container areas;

  • equipment acquisition;
  • social organization and training; and,
  • systems development for container movement;

The major component is the programme to increase the capacity of the port area in order to accommodate new industrial and logistics activities, including, those related to waste treatment and sustainable development.

As regards operations, the port authority plans to optimize the port community system, bringing into contact port users, including customs, freight forwarders and shipping agents.

The development plans include what was described as “…a very important environmental component’.

The price tag? The investments are estimated at  41 million for 4 years. Financing flows from the European Union, the Contract Plan French State-Regional Council and Grand Port Maritime de la Guyane (GPM-Guyane).

Today, the “Grand Port Maritime de la Guyane” handles more than 95% of goods imported into French Guiana. It includes the Port of Degrad des Cannes and port facilities of Pariacabo in Kourou. The Port of Pariacabo is specialized. It receives spatial elements for the European Space Base (CNES-CSG).

A note from the CEO Philippe Lemoine, Chief Executive Officer:

The future of French Guiana is extremely favourable to us through several factors, such as the population growth (of 3.5% a year). Indeed, the people of French Guiana will double by 2030, which will have a positive impact on importation and maritime and port traffic.

French Guiana and in particular its commercial port, wants to be part of a strong strategic cooperation for the potential development on the Guiana Shield.

The challenge we are now focusing on is to become a competitive entity alongside other ports in the Amazon-Caribbean zone. Offshore oil exploration just off the coast of French Guiana offers hope to build a real logistics base which will offer oil operators of the Guiana Shield, a grouping of equipment and logistics services.

In this perspective, the GPM-Guyane signed on June 2014, an agreement with the Port Authority of Suriname. This agreement will help us to do a study on a structured and common approach “win-win”. The study is funded by the Operational Program of Amazon (PO Amazonie).

Another objective of the GPM-Guyane is to create the Interport Conference of the Guiana Shield. This conference will include the ports of the State of Amapa and Para (Brazil), Suriname and Guyana. This large region has a strong economic future around its natural resources, more than 4% a year. []