The Falkland Islands Government (FIG) last week announced that it has chosen BAM-Nutall as its development partner to build a new port with a lifetime of fifty years. This week more details of the major project, to be developed in three stages and which is expected to be completed in three/four years were revealed by members of the local government.
“The new facility will be in the vicinity of the current port [FIPASS], offering new facilities that will benefit key users in the fishing, tourism and shipping sectors, as well as many other parts of the economy,” FIG said.
The potential site had been kept open when the tender was launched, and tendering firms were asked to review the most suitable location for a new port and propose a location as part of their tender returns.
The decision is expected to be formalised in March 2020 following agreement and signature of the contract, with the construction taking between three to four years.
It is also expected that the new facility will have a lifetime of 50 years, and include scope to enlarge it as required.
The project will be split into three stages, with decision gateways between each stage, and with the private sector heavily involved said FIG Director of Development and Commercial Services designate, Catherine Silva Donayre.
FIG also confirmed that a public meeting is planned for when the BAM team arrives in the Islands, so that people can get an overview of the project, outline timescales, and the initial design proposals.
Asked whether the development partner will be subject to the oil industry Local Content Code of Conduct (which promotes the use of local companies and suppliers where possible) FIG Chief Executive Barry Rowland said that the contractor will be encouraged to use local content, adding that a lot of that will be worked through in the coming months.
Mr Rowland nonetheless confirmed that BAM-Nutall are part of a local consortium that includes local businesses already.
Speaking to the press, Development and Commercial Services portfolio holder, MLA Dr Barry Elsby, said no indicative cost could be revealed at this stage, as it was subject to commercial confidence. Nevertheless, MLA Elsby assured that the decision had not been taken blindly, and that Members had seen the figures in Executive Council and approved the project unanimously: “We all feel that the indicative pricing is well within the Falkland Islands to afford,” he said.
Asked whether that cost would be met from reserves or through debt, MLA Elsby declined to elaborate, saying, “how we finance this, that’s part of what will be worked on as we go through this process. But we can afford it.”
Asked about a time-line for completion of the new port, Ms Silva Donayre warned that the project is at a very early stage and was reluctant to commit to fixed timelines.
She noted that the project represents a huge undertaking, and therefore the government expects it to take between three to four years in total, but more detail will be known after each of the project’s three stages.
Chief Executive Barry Rowland also confirmed that under the proposal the port will not be exactly in the same place as the current facility, but will be deeper and further out into the harbour.
“That allows, while the existing port continues to operate, for the new port to be constructed, and then part of the new port will be commissioned early, and the second phase will be delivered as we manage to decommission the existing FIPASS.
“In the best case scenario we’ll have a fully-functioning, brandnew port and have full access to it, have it fully commissioned, within three years.”
Asked about the ownership an operating model, Mr Rowland confirmed that the port will always remain in Government ownership.
With regards to the operation, Mr Rowland said that it could be operated according to a similar model to how FIPASS is operated now, whereby a contractor is responsible for the day to day operation.
Mr Rowland also confirmed that the proposals to replace the wool warehouse and cold-store currently on FIPASS with facilities near the new port are at an advanced stage.
Mr Rowland, described the decision as exciting news and said, “is the first step in designing a new facility that can handle both our current needs, and our projected
future demands.” (Penguin News)