The Guyana government is moving to purchase a new dredge that would deepen, among other waterways, the Demerara River, Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson said Thursday.
For several years, shipping companies and their umbrella organisation, the Shipping Association of Guyana (SAG), have been lobbying government to dredge the Demerara River to accommodate larger ships with more cargo and so lower freight costs to and from the country.
Patterson told Demerara Waves Online News that government has budgeted 8 million British pounds to purchase the dredge in 2017. Financing is expected to be provided by Britain’s Department for International Development under the United Kingdom-Caribbean Infrastructure Programme. He said it is likely that the dredge would have to be modified for Guyana.
The Minister told a news conference that the Maritime Administration (MARAD) intends to dredge the Demerara River to a depth of nine to 10 meters, compared to the current depth of six meters.
SAG has repeatedly lobbied the Guyana government to deepen the Demerara River channel to about six or nine meters along with the rise of the tide to accommodate larger vessels.
He was at the time explaining plans to bury a Guyana Power and Light submarine electricity and fibre optic cable to six instead of the current depth of three meters.
Patterson said steps are being taken to mend the cable, which was recently broken possibly due to the fact that it was buried at a depth of three meters in keeping with the contract.
The Demerara River is Guyana’s major waterway to the commercial and administrative city of Georgetown.