Bahamas succeeds in widening port ownership
NASSAU, Bahamas, Thursday, May 10, 2012 – The initial public offering (IPO) in January for the Arawak Port Development Ltd was the most successful ever in The Bahamas.
This was announced during the recent official opening of the Nassau port by previous prime minister Hubert Ingraham.
Ingraham pointed out that the significance of the new Arawak Cay port was that signals a shift away from the domination of privately owned ports in the nation’s capital as the new entity was 60% owned by the Government, Bahamian citizens and pension funds.
The IPO offered some 20 per cent of its shares to the public, which the founding shareholders were excluded from. The share offering sought to raise BAH$10 million through the public offering of shares; but was oversubscribed by BAH$35 million.
Ingraham reported that now some 11,065 Bahamians were now shareholders in the port.
The former prime minister contrasted that with the situation that existed prior to the establishment of Arawak Port Development Limited, wherein port operations in New Providence were controlled exclusively by a number of shipping and real estate owners.
In finalizing a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with the private sector, Ingraham said his Government took the “momentous decision” that the Government and the wider public would collectively own 60 per cent of the port operations. This would dramatically expand and diversify ownership in this key transportation sector.
The new Arawak Port will see the relocation of Nassau’s commercial freight operations from the Downtown area to a Arawak Cay. The Arawak Port offers 25,000 square feet of warehouse space and 25,000 square feet of administrative space; general containerized cargo, bulk and break bulk operations;
The port will have a round-the-clock Royal Bahamas Police Force presence; perimeter fencing and surveillance cameras; an onsite customs department to provide entry processing and freight inspection; and three container vessel berths totaling 1,167 linear feet;
Ingrhama said that greater centralized customs control would lower the risk level and facilitate faster cargo delivery; while state-of-the art terminal management with NAVIS-Argo with offsite backup would ensure accurate rate and complete trade records.