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GOB Reaches Final Draft of the National Port Policy

Over a year after the proposed date of completion, the Government of Belize seems to have reached a final draft in the development of a National Port Policy. The Policy is geared at establishing a standard framework for port expansion and development in Belize. LoveFM got a hold of a leaked copy of the final draft which outlines a new port-complex approach that reduces redundancies in port architecture and takes into consideration the environmental impacts of port development. There will be three port complexes strategically placed along Belize’s coast. On page twenty-five, it states that the Northern Port Complex, encompassing the Belize City Port, shall (quote) “be centered on the existing license holders and shall feature one cargo terminal (mixed-use), one cruise terminal, a logistics park/free zone, and a full range of auxiliary services.” (end quote). The Central Port Complex located in Dangriga, Stann Creek is to include the Commerce Bight Port which should be developed using a landlord-tenant port model, featuring one cargo terminal or one passenger terminal for small cruise ships. According to the draft policy, this port is also to include an intra-regional passenger ferry terminal that is suitable for yacht tourism. The Southern Port Complex near Independence Village will be centered on the existing license holders and will feature one cargo terminal, a cruise terminal, a logistics park/freezone and a full range of auxiliary services. The National Ports Policy is intended to increase the operational efficiency of the port networks in Belize while complying with environmental best practice guidelines. This policy, if implemented, will guide Belize’s port sector until 2042. The lack of a national port policy recently prompted the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) community to call on GOB to pause all active Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) on cruise ports until this long-awaited policy is finalized.