Nassau cruise port getting $250M redevelopment

The number of berths will rise from six to eight at one of the busiest cruise ports in the world.
The number of berths will rise from six to eight at one of the busiest cruise ports in the world.

A consortium including Global Ports Holding won a competition to redevelop and run the Prince George Wharf and related areas at the Nassau cruise port in the Bahamas.

Global Ports Holding said its proposal will increase the number of cruise berths from six to eight at one of the busiest cruise ports in the world. 

The plan calls for the construction of a new terminal building, the creation of an event and entertainment area, investment into improving retail, and the design and construction of new restaurants and bars, as well as integration of the port into Bay Street and downtown Nassau.

The $250 million plan is expected to be a catalyst for the wider redevelopment of downtown Nassau.

Global Ports Holding is a 49% owner in the winning partnership, which also includes the Bahamian Investment Fund (49%) and the Yes Foundation (2%).

The group was picked over two competing bidders, one of which was partly owned by the major cruise lines using the port, including Carnival, Disney, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line. That group, which also included a Bahamian investor syndicate called Cultural Village (Bahamas) led by Bahamian banker Gerald Strachan, sought to keep the same number of piers in Nassau but expand them to accommodate bigger cruise ships.

The winning consortium will have a 25-year concession at Prince George Wharf. Global Ports Holding will take over operation of the port from a government agency.

Global Ports Holding CEO Emre Sayin said that Nassau will become the biggest cruise port in its portfolio and increase the number of cruise passengers going through ports it manages by 50%.

Nassau has more than 3.5 million cruise passenger movements annually.

Based in Turkey, Global Ports mostly runs ports in Europe but has been making headway in the Caribbean. It recently won a long-term contract to redevelop and run the port in Havana

The cruise line partnership had criticized the winning proposal, saying that expanding the number of piers could impinge on a turning basin that cruise ships need to function effectively at the port. 

Sayin denied that was a problem and said its bid was the most innovative of the three submitted to the government.

In its statement, Global Ports said the Bahamian Investor Fund will be open to small investors in the Bahamas and that the minimum equity investment will be $1,000.

The Arawak Port Development Co. has been cited in Bahamian press reports as the chief investor in the project besides Global Ports.

The Yes Foundation, the third partner in the group, "will be established as a charitable entity promoting youth, sports and education for Bahamians," Global Ports said.


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