The final results of the Guyana-Brazil land transport link and deep water port project has been presented to Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson. The project can prove economically beneficial to Guyana through stakeholders’ participation, the Minister stated.
The final results were presented yesterday at the second conference at the Marriott hotel by Maritime Economist, Hamburg Port Consulting (HPC) Dr. Andreas Nohn in the presence of Minister Patterson, Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman; Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin; Country Representative, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Sophie Makonnen; and Facilitation Specialist, HCP, Peter Cardebring among other representatives from IDB, HPC and Brazil. The first conference was in July 2013.
Minister Patterson said that stakeholders’ participation is necessary since there are many challenges to address if the project is to be completed in a timely manner. The Minister pointed out that Guyana must improve its logistics performance to ease the burdensome process of documentary compliance, and make the process less time consuming. It also has to improve administrative handling for international trade, customs and agreements governing the operation of trucks, undertaking of cargo, and improving infrastructure, and official communication between the two countries.
Additionally, Minister Patterson said the project can lead to economic growth, and an increase in Gross Domestic Product. “Guyana can increase the competitiveness of its exports, and lower maritime cost. Guyana can also benefit from stimulating activity along the road leading to regional economic benefit in terms of employment and GDP. When we also take into account the need for tolling, this may also take another dimension of economic returns for Guyana.”
The Public Infrastructure Minister indicated that Brazil has not been a major import or export player even though Guyana shares a border with that country.
The Amazon River is the main route for import and export to Roraima. However, this route is not only time consuming, but relatively expensive, therefore, an alternative transportation route is necessary.
“The traffic potential for cargo is considered to be significant, which is the reason for this market survey, and if the existing port of Georgetown cannot support this potential, the development of a suitable water port in Guyana is therefore the way to go, while the corridor linking the Guyanese border will prove to be a major competitive alternative for routing cargo to and from Brazil,” Minister Patterson explained.
Meanwhile, Makonnen said the initiative is part of the bank’s larger strategic efforts to promote regional economic integration which is one of the institution’s five priority areas.
Integration is considered as an engine for growth and development. It is a strategic platform, and allows countries to overcome the disadvantage of small market size in a world where economies of scales are critical, Makonnen explained.
Makonnen pointed out that the market study analyses possible transport corridors, reviews what trade facilitation measures would have to occur for port efficiency, customs handling, and border crossing in Guyana and then generate the traffic forecast with different growth assumption.
“Guyana has high maritime transport cost due to shallow river ports that do not allow the use of larger ships. It also has a small population. In order to justify the deep water port, the project will have to rely on transship to and from Northern Brazil states.”
The link through the hinterland would open new territories to economic development and generate more cost.
Over the years, the Governments of both countries have been working towards the enhancement of trade, economic and physical integration. In 2013, the IDB has approved funding of US$1.5 million for studies required to prepare a road link to Brazil and a deep-water port project.
According to a GINA report, the project has four components. These include a market study in the Amazonas, Para and Roraima to ascertain the degree of trade that could be diverted to a port in Guyana, an engineering study to satisfy the various demand scenarios derived under the market study, social and environmental studies that will fund the scoping, a consultation process with relevant stakeholders, and field activities and preparation of a Strategic Environmental and Social Study (SESA).