Value creation of US$30M GAICO port enormous – Pres Ali

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
The US$30M GAICO Marine Facility at Nismes, West Bank Demerara

GAICO Construction & General Services Inc. on Saturday commissioned its US$30 million marine facility at Nismes, West Bank Demerara, and according to President Dr Irfaan Ali, the value creation of this project is enormous.

This newly built facility comprises a wharf, dry dock, and laydown and storage yard. The port facility, which is located on the west bank of the Demerara River, will be used as an offloading site for all the equipment and materials that are being brought in for the construction of Government’s model Gas-to-Energy Project, which will feature a 300-megawatt power plant and an integrated natural gas liquids (NGL) plant at Wales, WBD.

President Dr Irfaan Ali, First Lady Arya Ali and their son Zayd participated in the commissioning of GAICO’s Marine Facility on Saturday evening as CEO Komal Singh and his family along with Prime Minister Mark Phillips and his wife, other Cabinet Ministers, Members of the Diplomatic Corps and private sector officials watch on

Delivering the feature address at Saturday’s commissioning, the Head of State pointed out that this project has created immense opportunities for not only business development in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), but also the enhancement of local capacity as well.

“So, the value creation that Komal [Singh, Chief Executive Officer of GAICO] has made here is enormous. Because if you hear the number of young people who are trained here; the number of truck operators, mechanics; let me frankly say that if we did not have this development, our pace of development in Region Three would be curtailed by 25 per cent at least; because we did not have an offloading facility for sand and for all the pipes for the Gas-to-Energy project,” he noted.

President Ali noted that this facility is part of a host of developments that are taking place along the Demerara River, and those developments would not only bolster the Region Three economy, but Guyana’s infrastructural landscape as well.

President Dr Irfaan Ali

“In this region, and along the Demerara River, what you are seeing is the creation of value…this accelerated value did not come by accident; this accelerated value was supported by the investment that the Government is making, the investment by the private sector, and the policy-making matrix that exists,” he said.

Marine economy

However, as Guyana continues to see unprecedented infrastructural development, the Guyanese Leader underscored the need for the country to build out a marine economy that could further push economic growth.

“We are fleshing out the marine economy and what the marine economy would look like. The marine economy is critically linked to the national gas strategy, to the oil and gas strategy, and to every other aspect of development that is taking place. Whilst we build out the agro-industrial and manufacturing hub, it is the marine economy, through transport and logistics, that must support the advancement, development, and competitiveness of these industries,” Ali posited.

According to the Head of State, a local marine economy would require the improvement and efficiency of the Demerara River in supporting the development that is taking place. This, he noted, is where extensive dredging would be needed.

A section of the gathering at Saturday’s commissioning ceremony for GAICO’s Marine Facility at Nismes, West Bank Demerara

“So, the manufacturing, industrial development, and the transport and logistics hub require of us now to rethink our maritime strategy: the use of our rivers, the functionality of our rivers, the economic value of our rivers versus investment that is required to maximize the potential of our rivers. We have studies going on now in relation to coming up with a model that will have sustainable dredging inherent in that model — so we can bring in bigger ships, we can take out bigger ships,” the President asserted.

He went on to say all these investments are linked to the “value creation chain” being built out across Guyana by his government.

“The Government’s job is to create opportunities and that enabling environment. It is the job of the private sector to use those opportunities to build prosperity in the society,” the Guyanese Leader noted.

In fact, GAICO CEO Komal Singh spoke of the opportunity that the Ali-led Administration has created for the realization of this marine facility, which was conceptualised since 2013 and should have been completed in 2019, but was stalled under the previous Coalition regime. The project was approved by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic Government in December 2020.

“It could have been done a lot faster, but we got some delay…We’re still not late. While, if we had started earlier, we would’ve been able to achieve a lot more, but we’re still able to achieve quite a bit as of today,” Singh noted.

CEO of GAICO Komal Singh

The marine facility was built with over two million cubic feet of materials consisting of clay, sand, loam and crushed stones. One unique aspect of the facility is the clay that was used in the construction of the facility.

“When we do dredging on this side of the [Demerara] River, we used to bring that dredged material and place that on the land to dry out for a six-to-eight-months’ period, and then we keep reclaiming as we keep going forward. And it was the dedication and the support of our employees and our team…because it wasn’t easy to bring back materials onshore and dry it, but we did it and we did it successfully, and today we were able to reclaim six acres of land over the last 10 years,” the GAICO CEO explained.

Saturday’s commissioning ceremony for GAICO’s US$30 million marine facility was attended by First Lady Arya Ali; Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips and his wife, Mrs Mignon Bowen-Phillips; Ministers of Public Works, Juan Edghill and Deodat Indar; along with other Cabinet Ministers, senior Government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, and the Private Sector Commission.