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Freight operators air concern over possible relocation of docks

Hamilton Docks (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Some freight operators have raised concerns about the possibility of moving the island’s docks from Hamilton to St David’s.

The comments came after Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, said talks on such a switch were taking place.

Asked about moving the docks to Ship’s Wharf, the minister said: “Those discussions are still ongoing, but no decision has been made.”

But a number of freight firms warned about the volume of containers that would hit the roads on the east of the island if the docks are moved out of Hamilton.

Steven Sousa, a manager at BWS-Boss, which handles 12 to 17 containers a week, thought a change of location would be a bad idea.

“I don’t think it would help any of us, including the customers, as costs will have to be passed on to them. It’s going to affect costs,” he said.

“And you’ll have all that freight moving across the island. Then you have to consider the freight and heavy loads going over the bridges. Where it is now is the best.”

Jaime DeSilva, of Sea Venture Shipping, said a new bridge would be need to be built in the East End if the change happened. However, Colonel Burch has said no money exists to replace Longbird bridge, by the airport.

Ms DeSilva said: “The amount of containers that would have to go over that bridge — that would not be good for the bridge. They would need to replace the bridge. There is no way we can get all these containers across the current bridge.

“And with the amount of containers you would have traffic backed up when people are trying to get to work in the morning. The Government needs to take all these things into consideration.”

The Draft St David’s Community Plan, launched last week, mentioned that a relocation of the docks was “being discussed”.

Residents want rid of the unsightly “boat graveyard” at Ship’s Wharf, according to the plan.

The community plan listed a string of ideas pitched over the years for Ship’s Wharf, ranging from a “marina village” in 2008 to an energy plant in 2018.

The Bermuda Land Development Company’s effort to move the container port from the island’s capital to the East End dates back to at least 1997, two years after the former US base at Southside closed down.

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Published August 30, 2022 at 7:51 am (Updated August 30, 2022 at 7:51 am)

Freight operators air concern over possible relocation of docks

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