The BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) has shown a significant increase in revenue in less than a year, which confirms the continuous verbalised conviction of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Administration that the entity has the potential of being a major revenue earner once managed correctly.
The BVI Ports Authority falls under the portfolio of Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) who, during his 2020 Budget Reading on November 19, 2019, alluded to a 39% increase in revenue by the entity.
In making the announcement, Premier Fahie said, "Revenues at the BVI Ports Authority for the first 10 months of the year are up by 39 percent in comparison to the same period last year."
The BVI Ports Authority has been heavily criticised for alleged mismanaged, especially following the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, a situation which persisted despite several changes by the previous administration.
Upon taking office the VIP Administration made a massive shakeup from the level of the Board of Directors to other various management tiers.
Developments on the horizon
Premier Fahie in his budget address said that in strategically looking towards the enhancement of the aesthetics of the ports’ facilities and revenue collection, a number of requests for proposals were issued which included Provision of Tug Boat, Supply of specialty equipment for port cargo operations, Operational Feasibility Study, Administration Building Design, Warehouse Design, Forensic Auditor Services, Rehabilitation of the International Dock at Road Town Ferry Terminal, Design/Engineering and Build of an extension of the bulkhead at Port Purcell.
According to Premier Fahie, the BVI Ports Authority is preparing to conduct a feasibility study on flexible work hours, which will extend the operating hours at Port Purcell to increase the efficiency of loading and offloading cargo. This will lower the cost of doing business through lower storage fees, and importers will be able to pass these savings on to customers.
Further, Premier Fahie disclosed that in February 2020, in partnership with the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotels Association, he will be issuing invitations to the various Chambers of Commerce and business organisations throughout the Caribbean region to meet with Government to explore opportunities for trade.
"Many products such as building materials, manufactured goods and foods can be sourced from our CARICOM neighbours at competitive prices, if a major reliable shipping route is developed through the region. The BVI wants to pioneer this initiative," Premier Fahie stated.