Cabinet has approved a contract to Bridgemans Services Group (BSG) for its Cabo Star cargo vessel to service the inter-island seabridge for two years at a reduced cost of US$16,000 a day.
This information was given yesterday by Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan, who noted that when the Cabo Star was contracted in July 2017 the rate was US$21,000 a day.
Speaking at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, Sinanan said Cabinet approved Bridgemans after the preferred company to provide the cargo vessel pulled out.
He said the National Infrastructure Development Company (Nidco) had issued a tender in April this year for a cargo vessel.
Sinanan said in May 2020 they got 15 responses, and four were short-listed.
He said a company called Stena RoRo (a Swedish ferry provider) was the preferred supplier and was given a letter of award for the contract.
Stena RoRo has since responded to Nidco, indicating it could no longer maintain the price tendered, Sinanan said.
Nidco considered that to be a breach and immediately considered the second, third and fourth options, he said.
However, he said none of them wanted to consider a reduction in their prices.
Nidco then went to Bridgemans, which agreed to reduce its cost.
Cabinet accepted the recommendation from Nidco to renew the contract for the Cabo Star for a further two years at a reduced rate of US$16,000 per day for two years with the option to renew for another year.
He said the Cabo Star will improve on its voyage time and passenger capacity.
Sinanan said the long-term solution would be to purchase a custom built cargo vessel to service the seabridge.
The minister also provided an update on the delivery of two passenger vessels which Government has ordered to be custom built for the seabridge.
He said the first delivery will be made in November and the second will arrive at the end of the first quarter of 2021.
Sinanan said all indications are that the vessels are on track and within budget.
He added that these two vessels will have a lot more capacity for cargo as well which will allow products to be transported to Tobago at a faster rate.
The minister said T&T has a “very efficient seabridge now” with a lot of capacity but unfortunately, the demand was low because of the pandemic.