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The World Bank’s public-private partnership (PPP) financing house, International Finance Corporation (IFC), will next month launch the process to find an operator interested in taking part in the redevelopment of Haiti’s ruined port system.
Officially the world’s poorest country, Haitian infrastructure was devastated by the 2010 earthquake, but has “now moved from recovery mode to longer term development”, as it seeks a terminal operator for its northern Cap Haitien Port, IFC investment officer and global products specialist for ports Laurent Fremy told last week’s TOC Asia conference in Singapore.
Requests for expressions of interest will be issued next month, with requests for qualification issued in July, requests for proposals in August and bids due to be submitted in November.
Mr Fremy said the IFC had already tried to gauge private operators’ interest in the facility in two previous phases. It had talked to a group of 12 companies, made up of terminal operators and shipping lines, but just three said it was of interest but not a priority. In a second phase, it talked to wider group of 45 potential investors, with six professing interest.
However, no one seemed to want to take on the risks associated with a project that includes design and build aspects. As a result, two tenders will be issued: the design and build EPC contract will be run by USAID, the US overseas development body, which has pledged $65m to the project; while the government of Haiti will rule on the operating lease of the terminal.
“Bidders were unconvinced by the design-build part of the bid so it is only going to be a lease deal,” Mr Fremy said.
On the table is a 20-year lease agreement with the operator expected to invest $10-20m in equipment. Bids will be judged on a fee per teu basis plus annual fixed lease fee for the terminal itself.
“Incumbent operator Cap Terminal SA’s contract is to be terminated because it was not meeting the government of Haiti’s objectives and international standards, but it will be invited to take part in the new bid,” Mr Fremy said.
Cap Haitien, located on the north coast, is one of just three international ports in Haiti, and accounts for 10% of its maritime trade and 5% of customs revenue. Container traffic at the port in 2014 was around 10,000 teu, and at one point it was included as a port on inducement on CMA CGM’s Haiti feeder service that ran out of its Kingston transhipment hub.
Cap Haitien is the country’s second largest city.