Deep Water Port, Linden-Lethem Road part of masterplan to make Guyana a logistics hub – Pres. Ali

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Dr Irfaan Ali

By: Jarryl Bryan

The massive crowd of international and local delegates at the Guyana Energy Conference and Supply Chain Expo 2024 were provided with a detailed presentation from President Dr. Irfaan Ali on various investment opportunities and projects in Guyana, including the Linden to Mabura Hill road, which he revealed is being built as part of a masterplan to make Guyana a logistical hub.

The Expo is being held at the Marriott Hotel from February 19 to 24 and President Ali, as the feature speaker of the morning, spoke of the massive potential for Guyana to become a regional transport hub. He referenced the Linden to Lethem Road, which is being funded by the United Kingdom and Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

“We’re building out the road to Northern Brazil… 120 kilometers of that road is under construction, 45 bridges. All of that investment we’re already making. So, that market becomes immediately available.”

The President also pointed out that in Northern Brazil, agriculture and food imports are eight million tonnes, while exporting 13 million tonnes. But to move these goods to their ports takes two weeks, due to their land locked status. This, he noted, is where a deep-water port in Guyana comes in, with President Ali noting that the New Amsterdam location is very much a viable option.

“Coming through Guyana will take less than two days. Our geographic position now places us on a competitive path to be the shipping logistics solution for Northern Brazil, but more importantly make them more competitive. So that justifies and adds to the rate of return for the deep-water port. That’s the direction we’re going.”

“A recent study shows us that from Lethem to Brazil, Lethem to New Amsterdam, which is where we’re foreseeing the Deep-Water Port, that’s a distance of 540 kilometers. You know what’s the time? Five hours, four minutes. You’re talking about a game changer for Guyana, Northern Brazil and transport and logistics.”

The Linden-Lethem Road is being upgraded to an all-weather road, with the contractor being required to produce an asphaltic surface capable of withstanding the heavily laden lorries which currently use the thoroughfare.

The first phase of the project focuses on a two-lane highway being constructed from sand and dirt to an asphaltic concrete surface. The road will be approximately 121 kilometres long and 7.2 metres wide. The project is expected to last for three years. With tangible works taking place, residents have started focusing on the new possibilities for business opportunities.

The project is being funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) via a US$112 million loan, a grant to the tune of £50 million (US$66 million) from the United Kingdom under the Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (CIPF), and an input of US$12 million from the Guyana Government.

With a 7.2-metre-wide carriageway, the Linden-to-Mabura Road will feature a cycle and pedestrian lane measuring 2 metres wide, along with 10 bus stops outfitted with ramps for persons with disabilities. Additionally, a number of bridges and culverts along the way will be replaced, and some 123 lights will be installed.

Meanwhile, there had long been talk of the Guyana government facilitating the development of a Deep-Water Port, though the government has said it prefers a private led, Build Own Operate model to finance the project. Further, investors from as far as Dubai and India have been considered for the project.