China's state-owned Export-Import Bank has agreed to finance a new port and a bridge in the Bahamas, the second major infrastructure project backed in recent months by the Chinese in the island nation.
The Chinese bank will provide a $41 million loan for the bridge and port on Abaco in the northern Bahamas in a plan unanimously approved Thursday by the House of Assembly. Terms of the loan were not disclosed.
The port, which is expected to cost $33 million, will be located on the northern part of Abaco and include commercial berths and a private marina. It is expected to ease congestion in Marsh Harbour, in southern Abaco, and draw additional foreign investment to the island, said Environment Minister Earl Deveaux.
The 35-acre North Abaco Port plan also includes space for warehouses, a port administration building and a public park.
"What we have determined is Marsh Harbour has exceeded its capacity," Deveaux said. "This project will relieve pressure and accommodate future growth for the island."
The construction of the Little Abaco Bridge, at a cost of about $6.5 million, will allow the government to remove the causeway connecting Great and Little Abaco and restore natural flow to the mangrove forest and other natural habitat in the area, he said.
Both the new port and the Little Abaco Bridge, are expected to be finished by November 2013.
China's Export-Import Bank is also providing the financing for Baha-Mar, a large $2.6 billion resort complex in the Cable Beach area of New Providence, the most populated island that includes the capital, Nassau.
Baha Mar, which will include four hotels, a golf course and what the developers say will be the largest casino in the Caribbean, is largely being built by China State Construction Engineering Co. Ltd, which will import thousands of Chinese workers for the project. The resort is scheduled to open in December 2014.