GAICO pumps US$10M into new dredging equipment
President Dr Irfaan Ali
President Dr Irfaan Ali

– President Ali hails company’s commitment to boosting local capacity

President, Dr. Irfaan Ali has hailed the US$10 million investment by GAICO Construction & General Services Inc in a new Trailing Suction Hopper Dredge – ‘the Malavi’, as a direct representation of diversity of services in action.

The investment shows the capability of local businesses to provide world-class services while catering to the local demand.
The dredge was commissioned at Nimes, West Bank Demerara on Saturday, and according to the President, it will strategically add capacity to the local economy through the provision of vital services. The President hailed the company on Saturday during the dredge-commissioning ceremony; he noted that this massive investment is strategically adding capacity to the local economy as it diversifies the range of services that is provided locally.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GAICO, Komal Singh

The activity of dredging includes the removal of sediment and debris from the bottom of lakes, rivers, harbours, and other water bodies. It is a routine necessity in waterways because sedimentation—the natural process of sand and silt washing downstream—gradually fills channels and harbours.
The Head of State noted that with Guyana’s trajectory of growth on a steep rise, there must be innovative and strategic investments that complement Guyana’s economic change, noting that this new investment by GAICO represents the private sector’s commitment to improving the local economy.

“These investments that are coming on stream allow us to build our machining or fabrication and our machining industries to another level. In building it to another level, we have to decide, do we want to become the centre of the growth of the marine industry?
“And if we want to be the centre of the growth of the marine industry what is the list of services that we must be able to provide?”

The President noted that this investment is one that will have many spin-off benefits.
“We don’t only look at this as a singular investment; from the perspective of the government we understand the nature of the investment, the importance of the investment to the other sectors and to the realization of the different goals and targets that we want to achieve as a country.”

The US$10 million Trailing Suction Hopper Dredge (Latchman Singh photo)

He noted that with an annual maintenance cost of over $40 million, Guyanese, especially those working in welding, fabrication, and machine shops, can expect to benefit yearly just from the upkeep of the massive dredge.

The Head of State noted that this investment comes at an opportune moment as there is a definite need for dredging, especially on the west side of the river. He disclosed that the government is currently assessing the viability of developing a diversion channel, which would require dredging for the removal of sediment and debris from the bottom of the Demerara River.
Meanwhile, Minister within the Ministry of Public Works Deodat Indar echoed similar sentiments while speaking about the spin-off benefits of the new dredging vessel, stating it would directly impact the socio-economic development of Region Three.
He explained that with the boom in major infrastructural development in the region, there is a direct need for materials to be transported to the region through the use of barges, which would significantly reduce the cost of those necessities.

President Dr Irfaan Ali (fourth from right) and other officials cut the ribbon to officially commission the new dredging equipment (Latchman Singh photo)

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GAICO, Komal Singh, noted that this investment will not just impact the “big projects” and the competitiveness of Guyana’s water-transport and shipping capabilities, but will impact the lives of regular citizens across the country.
He said the dredging capabilities of the vessel could potentially help farmers in the outlying areas of Georgetown, the Pomeroon, Mahaica and Mahaicony, to mitigate flooding.

“There was always a conversation in Guyana for us to have a 24/7 deep-water port and that need now is becoming more and more critical with Guyana becoming an oil-producing nation. It is imperative for us to have some of these rivers dredged and to allow deeper draft so vessels can get in and out of our channel, so all of us can enjoy better economies of scale for our importation.”
The US $10 million “Malavi” adds to GAICO’s current fleet of vessels which includes Hopper Dredges, Cutter Head Dredges, Hydraulic Cutter Head Dredges, Tugs Barges Supply Vessels, and Backhoe Dredges.

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