The Virgin Islands Port Authority and Tropical Shipping have officially signed agreements between the two entities that will advance projects to rehabilitate and expand the Crown Bay Cargo Port in St. Thomas and the Wilfred Bomba Allick Port and Transshipment Center in Krause Lagoon, St. Croix. VIPA Executive Director Carlton Dowe and Tropical Shipping President Timothy P. Martin executed long-term lease agreements on January 22, 2024, at a meeting held at Tropical’s headquarters in Riviera Beach, Florida.
Tropical Shipping has operated in the territory since 1976. The new agreements allow Tropical to continue its commercial and containerized shipping, warehousing, and related administrative activities at both ports. The agreements are for a term of 25 years with two five-year options to renew.
VIPA successfully partnered with Tropical Shipping and Crowley to apply for and was awarded a $21.9 million grant from the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) in October 2020. The grant will be used to repair and modernize the cargo handling and storage infrastructure at the Crown Bay Sandfill Cargo facility.
In November 2023, MARAD announced that the territory was awarded another $22 million for the repairs and improvement to the Wilfred “Bomba” Allick Port and Transshipment Center in St. Croix, known locally as the Container Port. The bulkhead at this facility will be rehabilitated and the concrete apron will be restored. The cargo storage areas are also slated for reconstruction. The project also includes security improvements at the port such as lighting, fencing, and fire protection.
Applications for these grants were done through a partnership between VIPA, Tropical Shipping, and Crowley Caribbean Services which are the two long-time cargo companies operating in the territory. Tropical and Crowley contributed to the matching funds required for the grant on St. Thomas. Tropical Shipping provided the full required matching funds and technical assistance to VIPA in the preparation of the grant application for the grant for St. Croix.
While visiting Tropical Shipping’s headquarters, VIPA officials also discussed the implementation of the Crown Bay Sandfill Improvement Project and a new vision for the Wilfred “Bomba” Allick Port and Transshipment Center and were provided a tour of the rum transportation facilities.
Dowe said that the agreement between VIPA and Crowley is currently being reviewed by Crowley, and he expects the document to be fully executed during the first quarter of 2024.