Over $3.1 billion for new Mabaruma Ferry

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A contract for the construction of a passenger and cargo boat to ply the Georgetown to Mabaruma route has been awarded to the tune of US$15.6 million (over G$3.1 billion).

It would be welcome news for those who have to endure the treacherous journey on vessels that have outlived their time; the unreliable operation of the vessels has added to these woes.

The contract was awarded to the Indian firm SHOFT Shipyard Pvt Ltd, which is headquartered in Mumbai, India with its shipyard in Gujarat.

The award of the contract, which is being funded by the government of India, was announced by Minister of State Joseph Harmon at his post-Cabinet news briefing.

He said it has taken some time for the contract to be awarded due to the processes of both the Guyanese and Indian public services.

“…these things have to go through our public service is one thing, but the Indian public service is also another issue.

“It takes a little bit of time from actual conceptualization of a project to funding for it,” he stated.

The funding agreement for the project was signed in November 2016; it was for USD$18M, which comprised a USD$8M grant and USD$10M concessionary loan to be repaid within 20 years with a five-year grace period.

“Over the years, the residents of this region have complained bitterly about the negative impact of the service on their lives and livelihoods.

“The introduction of this new passenger-cargo ferry is to provide improved services to those residents who commute regularly between Regions One and Four,” Winston Jordan, Minister of Finance has said at the signing ceremony.

“Passengers and goods will now be moved at affordable prices in a safe, secure and reliable environment. This new ferry vessel will increase efficiency and operations by allowing passengers and freight to be conveyed more swiftly with fewer delays and reduction in travel time,” Jordan added.

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