Gov’t signs $2.5B contract for construction of ferry

-to serve Region one to Georgetown route

Persons travelling from Barima-Waini (Region One) to Georgetown would soon benefit from a modern $2.5 billion ferry.

The Ministry of Public Works signed a contract to build the vessel with Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited, on Wednesday, in the Ministry’s boardroom.

Minister of Public Works, Hon. Bishop Juan Edghill and Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, His Excellency Dr. K. J. Srinivasa

Minister Hon. Bishop Juan Edghill said: “The people of Region One and those who use the service will be able to benefit from that much anticipated promise new, river ferry, which will reduce travel time, bring greater passenger comfort, greater safety mechanisms and allowing for the modernisation of Guyana.”

Construction of the new vessel which will eventually replace the ageing M.V. Kimbia, is expected to be completed within 18 months.

Funding for the ferry was sourced through a $3.6 billion line of grant and credit with the Government of India.  Minister Edghill said the funds for the contract have been available since 2015, but no contract was awarded.

It is through the leadership of President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, he said, a solid contract was negotiated for the construction of the ferry to the lowest bidder. 

Permanent Secretary to the Ministry, Mr. Vladim Persaud and Transport and Harbours Department General Manager, Ms. Marcelene Merchant sign the contract

The Minister said the former Government had been attempting to award the contract to the highest bidder.  However, the PPP/C Government can now announce the fruits of collaboration between Guyana and India. 

Minister Edghill said payment for the ferry would be made in parts, with the final payment being made upon receipt of the vessel.

“There are various payment stages. They are paying a mobilisation of 20 per cent. Based upon the contract and deliverables, later down in the year another 40 per cent and then at the completion with the installation of the engines and steering capacity, the additional 40 per cent will be made and the vessel will be delivered to Guyana.”

While Government awaits the construction of the new ferry, Minister Edghill said the M.V. Kimbia would go into dry dock for repairs and would be put back into operation to serve that route.

Meanwhile, High Commissioner of India to Guyana, His Excellency, Dr. K. J. Srinivasa said the $2.5 billion for the vessel is a percentage of the $3.6 billion line of grant and credit. The High Commissioner said the remaining sum would be used to upgrade the stellings where the ferry will dock.

“We are trying to see how best we can work in upgrading the stellings at both the arrival and departure ports. We got a proposal from the Government of Guyana today, so we plan to take it up with our Ministry back home and see how best we can work on that at a fast pace,” Dr. Srinivasa said.

The signing of the contract for the construction of the ferry is touted as strengthening cooperation between the two countries.

The contract was signed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr. Vladim Persaud and Transport and Harbours Department General Manager, Ms. Marcelene Merchant in the presence of former Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, His Excellency Venkatachalam Mahalingam and representatives from the Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited.