“Expansion Pier 2 creates flexibility”

POSTED: 02/13/13 12:44 PM

St. Maarten – It may cost 25 million guilders for Pier 2 to be expanded but the Harbor Group of Companies sees it as the only alternative to the challenges that St. Maarten is facing from its neighbors.

Chief executive officer Mark Mingo gave information to a Central Committee meeting that was requested by Independent MP Frans Richardson, on how he proposes to finance the expansion through a strategic agreement.

“When you go on for 20 years, you would lease or sell your slot and tie those guys (cruise lines) down. If you don’t tie those guys down then they can leave with those beautiful propellers or they can go to the neighbor like St. Kitts. We have to be very careful and stick to those agreements. There have been a lot of lawyers involved, but we have been successful in making sure that we get those cruise passengers.”

The negotiation of the agreement is ongoing; it’s in its final stage to be presented to the shareholder for approval.

Pier 1 currently accommodates 4 ships while Pier 2 can only berth 2 ships.

“The reason that we are developing Pier 2 is because Tortola is expanding its pier. Disney and Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) are involved in this project. St. Thomas is actually dropping back; they have not developed their cruise product as they should. They have not made lots available for the cruise lines and they are hampering the growth of St. Maarten. You will still need to go to St. Thomas or Tortola to turn around to meet St. Maarten. The extension of pier 2 will create flexibility and less stress on the bookings of the itineraries,” Mingo said.

Preferential agreements have been signed with Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean. This means that they both are guaranteed parking in St. Maarten. They take up all six spaces. However Mingo wants to ensure that the smaller ships such as Disney, Mediterranean Shipping Company and NCL are able to dock and turn around comfortably.

“The big boys usually block out the small boys but we need the three cruise lines for growth, they are part of the product mix.”

Most of the dredging that was going on at the Harbor was maintenance dredging in preparation for the opening of the Panama Canal. The last part of the dredging will be the widening of the berth at Pier 2 and making more draught space available for giga-yachts, he disclosed.

“If you cannot cater to the giga-yachts you will lose other business as well. I am therefore taking it seriously,” Mingo said.

Giga-yachts cannot go into the Simpson Bay Lagoon so the expansion of Pier 2 to accommodate them will in no way compete with SLAC, Mingo said.

Did you like this? Share it:
“Expansion Pier 2 creates flexibility” by

Comments are closed.