By Aaron Humes, Big Creek, Stann Creek District: In what promises to be a gamechanger for the sugar industry in the North, Belize Sugar Industries/American Sugar Refining (BSI/ASR) has turned to the South to help it export Belize’s most recognized product.
The Port of Big Creek recently dredged its entrance channel to 11 meters, allowing for ships as long as 230 meters to dock for direct loading of sugar and molasses. The first such ship was in evidence today, collecting a 30,000-ton load in approximately one-sixth of the usual time.
Such an investment, according to BSI/ASR Vice President Mac Maclachlan, helps relieve environmental stress on the New River and especially reduces costs and travel time, estimated at $2 per ton of cane delivered.
Minister of Public Utilities and Logistics Michel Chebat laid the gauntlet down to the Belize City Port, though not mentioned by name, to begin making critical investments in its structure and operations to help boost Belize as a crossroads of shipping in the Caribbean.
According to area representative Rodwell Ferguson, what jobs may now be lost in Belize City to the stevedores there are canceled out by the employment opportunities in the South, making BSI/ASR a truly “national industry” as Maclachlan noted. Only containerized direct consumption sugar goes through the Old Capital’s port.