At a local news conference, Sean Matthew, GPH business development advisor, said the public will begin to see construction vehicles mobilized by first quarter 2024 pending approval by the Development Control Authority.
The news conference was among a series of events including a stakeholder reception hosted by GPH last week following the signing of a 30-year concession with the St. Lucia government in August.
Matthew outlined a phased approach, noting the design and development process with the government is ongoing.
Upgraded berthing at Castries' Pointe Seraphine
The project scope includes work at Pointe Seraphine, the Vendors Arcade and other facilities in Castries, Bananes Bay and Soufriere.
At Pointe Seraphine, GPH plans to improve the berthing capacity and strength to accommodate the world's largest cruise ships, which can carry up to 6,500 passengers and 2,500 crew. The operator also plans to straighten the Port Castries berth and introduce several tender jetties in Castries and Bananes Bay.
Matthew said GPH is also committed to resolving traffic management since bigger ships will bring more passengers. One initiative is to have 'proper-sized ferries' transport people across Bananes Bay so they can start their tours to Soufriere and other places.
Port Soufriere repairs and amphitheater
At Port Soufriere GPH plans to repair and expand a finger pier and an L-shaped pier, increasing the capacity of the latter at least two-fold. Tender jetties will be added in the Baron’s Drive area to provide more berthing capacity for smaller vessels.
GPH also intends to build an amphitheater to create a 'memorable experience that will be unique to Soufriere,' Matthew said. Safety cameras and related equipment will be provided to the Soufriere Marine Management Association to support the community’s goals.
Local hires to be announced
Saint Lucia Cruise Port, the local company created by GPH, will be managed by an all-local team with several new hires to be announced shortly.
As earlier reported, $20m of the project budget will be used to take over debt accumulated by the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA).
Daren Cenac, CEO of SLASPA, expressed the government’s expectation that GPH will meet its two-year completion deadline once the physical work begins.
Keeping close tabs
'St. Lucia needs to improve our cruise tourism product as quickly as possible because our competitors in the region are not just sitting by,' Cenac said. 'A partner like GPH really embraces our vision to modernize cruise-related services in St. Lucia. We are keeping very close tabs on our partner to ensure that they deliver within the expected timeframe.'
He added: 'We have seen where they have undertaken works within a certain period of time in the region and they have delivered, which speaks to their global experience. We are confident that they will deliver to the people of St. Lucia, to the government, and to SLASPA on time.'