Terminal’s $71.3m Deal ‘Heralds New Day’ in GB
10.18.2023 By Tank Terminals - NEWS
October 18, 2023 [The Tribune]- Investment project announcements are “certainly heralding a new day” for Grand Bahama after the South Riding Point terminal’s new owner yesterday unveiled a $71.3m financing deal to restart operations.
James Carey, the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce president, hailed Liwathon Group’s confirmation of the loan guarantee from the US Export-Import Bank as “great news” and added that if “we can knit all these things together we will be in for a very bright future in Grand Bahama”.
Liwathon’s statement, released yesterday just after Grand Bahama Shipyard last week confirmed its investment in two new dry docks will proceed, said the $71.3m loan guarantee “will support the relaunch of the 1.1 million cubic metres South Riding Point energy storage terminal in The Bahamas later this year” following its prior acquisition from Equinor.
No specific dates were provided, but the logistics operator that runs four petroleum storage facilities in Estonia described the loan guarantee as “one of the largest financial commitments” by the US Export-Import Bank for a project within Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations.
“This milestone underscores our commitment to operational excellence and strategic asset growth,” said a spokesperson for Liwathon Group, which owns more than 2.1m cubic metres of storage space across its business.
“We are committed to providing secure, reliable and affordable energy solutions while adhering to the highest industry standards. This loan guarantee demonstrates our focus on strategic growth, especially in areas where future investment in energy infrastructure is necessary to maintain supply resilience.”
Describing South Riding Point’s relaunch as “a pivotal moment” for both The Bahamas and the US, Liwathon added: “It will create numerous job opportunities in both countries and contribute to community development in Freeport, while reinforcing energy security between the Americas and international markets as a major transhipment storage, blending and export maritime energy terminal.”
No specifics on job creation were provided, but Ginger Moxey, minister for Grand Bahama, said in a statement: “This investment marks another pivotal moment in the revitalisation of the Grand Bahama economy. The loan from the Export-Import Bank of the US to the Liwathon Group will bring new investments, new jobs and new entrepreneurial opportunities to Grand Bahama.
“The $71.3m arrangement reaffirms Liwathon Group’s commitment to sustainable growth, and the Government is happy to support this major project as we work together to create a brighter future for our island and our people.“
Mr Carey, informed of the financing and Liwathon’s plans, told Tribune Business: “That’s great news because South Riding Point has been in somewhat of a no man’s land for a little bit. It’s great news that it’s getting going.”
Turning to the Shipyard project, the GB Chamber chief added: “For infrastructure purposes, there’s going to be quite a lot of work locally I think in realigning the seaway and I gather quite a number of persons will be engaged with that, although no doubt there will be some foreign involvement.
“The buzz is there’s a lot of anticipation on the ground looking forward to that, and it’s certainly heralding a new day. Given all the negatives said about Freeport recently, this is another encouraging step. This hasn’t just come about. It’s been in the works and bodes well. I would hope it quiets some of the negatives and that people are more positive about the outlook for Grand Bahama.”
Mr Carey said both Bahamians and foreigners will be incentivised to invest if Grand Bahama is talked about in positive terms, and added: “The Prime Minister’s comments in the Shipyard release spoke volumes, as they were very positive and upbeat, though brief. I believe that’s a good turning point for us.
“All these things, if they can be knit together, we will be in for a very bright future in Grand Bahama. What happens here has a spin-off effect for other parts of The Bahamas. We’ve spoken about the absence of critical mass in Grand Bahama in the past, but these things will certainly encourage critical mass. People with places to rent will hopefully be able to find some tenants, and hopefully it will spur some construction.”
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