• The Star Staff

Ports Authority issues RFP for Isla Grande dry dock manager

By The Star Staff

The Puerto Rico Ports Authority has initiated a request for proposals (RFP) process for the operation, maintenance and repair of the dry dock located at Pier 15 in Isla Grande.

The information was provided recently by Ports Authority Executive Director Joel A. Pizá Batiz, who said the dry dock, which was built by the United States Navy in the early 1940s and initially operated by the Navy, was eventually acquired by Ports in the late 1990s. However, it has remained unused since 2000.

“As part of Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced’s initiatives to turn unused assets into productive ones, we are launching 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, and once more be a source of economic activity and employment for the island,” Pizá Batiz said.

It is estimated that the project has the potential to generate private investment of $20 million, the creation of 400 direct, indirect and induced jobs and an annual economic impact of about $15.9 million.

Emphasizing that the RFP is not for a public-private partnership, Pizá Batiz noted that what it seeks is an operator to establish a maintenance, repair and overhaul service center for various types of vessels, including commercial ships, and private yachts and mega yachts, among others.

The dry dock measures approximately 600 feet long, 102 feet wide and 26 feet deep, which positions it as a unique facility in the Caribbean for the repair and maintenance of vessels up to 400 feet long, the Ports 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.

Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Manuel A. Laboy Rivera said in a statement that “this project has an economic multiplier effect for various economic sectors.”

“It should be taken into consideration that whoever arrives on the island with a boat to receive some type of maintenance or repair can enjoy a few days in our hotels, entertainment centers, and gastronomy and shopping centers, among others,” he said. “It is estimated that all these activities could have a multiplier economic impact of approximately $15.9 million once the dry dock begins operations. Undoubtedly, this dry dock will be a perfect complement to facilitate an increase in the development of the yacht and mega yacht service industry in Puerto Rico.”

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