Cruise Ports International (CPI) and a coalition of the four leading cruise companies, the Cruise Lines Group (CLG), intend to employ ITM Group as an independent operator of the Nassau cruise port, if it is successful in its bid to redevelop the port. It also wants to utilize Moffatt and Nichol, builders of the marina at Atlantis and Hurricane Hole, among other local projects, as the architect of record on the project along with Jason Lorandos, a press release from the group has revealed.
CPI, which is 60 percent controlled by Bahamian businessman Gerald Strachan, according to a release, intends to bring the experience of ITM, which operates Mexico’s Costa Maya port, and Moffatt & Nichol, which has been involved in projects at Arawak Cay, Baker’s Bay, Castaway Cay, Coco Cay, the British Colonial Hilton, Baha Mar, Royal Island, Andros Island, Rose Island, Our Lucaya, and Emerald Bay, to revitalize Nassau’s cruise port.
CPI is one of the bidders in the government’s request for proposal to redevelop the cruise port.
Strachan said in the release: “There was no way for us to know what new piers are needed, what passenger experiences need to be addressed and the likely rate of growth of the cruise business without talking to the cruise lines. In talking to them, we discovered that we complemented each other and that a partnership would be quite natural.
“Our big strength at CPI is that we will bring Bahamian history, heritage and culture to the forefront of all our offerings and will get more Bahamian people directly involved in benefiting from the cruise business. And the big strength of the cruise lines is their knowledge of how to construct ports to ensure the best logistics for the movement and enjoyment of the destination by their passengers.”
Strachan added in the release that CPI has no intention of intruding on the existing businesses downtown, nor propose “improvements to areas of the port which fall outside the parameters of the government’s request for proposals”.
“Any company getting a 25-year concession from the government should not be allowed to trap cruise passenger spending on the dock. We see our role as that of facilitating the movement of passengers in and out of the dock to enjoy experiences in the wider community, and to assist in the guidance and development of those experiences,” he said.
The release added that CPI, if it becomes the successful bidder, will create the Cruise Port National Development Fund, which will contribute $1 million annually to education, healthcare, environmental sustainability and small business development.
CPI also intends to offer shares in the port through Royal Fidelity Bank & Trust.
“We are making sure that our port will be both majority owned and majority managed by Bahamians,” Strachan said.
“Four members of the seven-member board of the operating company, including the chairman, will be named by CPI. Our partners also understand that we must act in our country’s best interest. So for this reason, ITM has already pledged to Bahamianize their local management team after the fashion of Nassau Airport Development Company and as rapidly as possible.”
According to the release, CPI is already working with local entrepreneurs on tours, including tours that include the “Over the Hill” area.
“The growth in tours is expected to provide an additional 1,050 permanent, full-time jobs annually and entice cruise ship passengers to come off the ships to support local shopkeepers, restaurant owners, straw vendors, beach vendors, hair braiders, watersport operators and others, many of whom will be invited to own shares in the new port,” the release notes.