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Haiti – Changes plans for new port

Haiti is to scrap plans to build a new port at Fort Liberté on the north coast. The new port had been mooted by the US government, which was partly financing the new harbor as part of a bilateral aid package. Instead, Haiti will seek an alternative scheme to modernize and upgrade Cap-Haitien, a town largely untouched by 2010’s tragic earthquake.

The high cost of building Fort Liberté, the lack of private backers for the project and serious environmental concerns are cited as the reasons for the change of plan. 

Estimates had put the cost of Fort Liberté at over US$ 250 million with the USA contributing around $US 70 million. 

When it was first proposed in 2011, the rationale for Fort Liberté was to reclaim or divert to Haiti cargoes now moving via ports over the border in the Dominican Republic.

But Fort Liberté was not considered value for money by the USA and with no private sector money to make up the balance in what is still considered a high-risk location, there was no alternative but to shelve the scheme. Moreover, and perhaps critically, Fort Liberté port is located in a newly created protected area. Attention now switches to Cap-Haitien, where there is still spare capacity for container handling. However, the cost of redeveloping the port is not yet known. Cap-Haitien will require significant dredging, construction of a bridge to ease congestion and a new breakwater.