The drydock was initially built in the early 1940s and operated by the United States Navy. It was acquired by Puerto Rico Port Authority (PRPA) in the late 1990s at a cost of $11m but has remained unused since 2000. the project is estimated to require up to $20M in repairs but could have an annual economic impact of about $15.9m.
“We are announcing the start of the Request for Proposals process for the dry dock, so that this facility, the only one of its kind in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, can operate again,” PRPA executive director Joel A. Pizá Batiz said.
The Request for Proposals is not for a Public-Private Partnership said Pizá Batiz said but he noted that the dry dock’s RFP seeks is an operator to establish a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) service centre for various types of vessels, including commercial, yachts and mega yachts, amongst others.
Pizá Batiz informed that Ports will receive RFPs for 60 days, until 17 October after which the Authority will evaluate them from October to November. The contract with the winning bidder should be formalized before the end of December 2020.
The dry dock measures approximately 600 feet long, 102 feet wide and 26 feet deep, which positions it as a unique facility in the entire Caribbean for the repair and maintenance of vessels up to 400 feet long, the PRPA executive director pointed out.
Currently, local businesses are required to use dry dock facilities in New Orleans, the Bahamas or the Virgin Islands to repair or maintain their vessels.
“Undoubtedly, this dry dock will be the perfect complement to propitiate the development of the yacht and the mega yacht service industry in Puerto Rico," said the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC) Secretary Manuel A. Laboy Rivera
Some 79 mega yachts visited Puerto Rico last year, with an economic impact of approximately $10.9mm. This represents an increase of 53 mega yachts over 2018.
“We are very confident that with this Request for Proposals process we will finally be able to get a company that can get this important asset, such as the dry dock, back into operation. Without a doubt, this will allow us to favorably position San Juan as an important centre for repairing and maintaining vessels throughout the Caribbean region,” Pizá Batiz concluded.
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