The Port of Bridgetown (officially the Deep Water Harbour),[3] (AMS Seaport Code: 27201,[4][5] UN/LOCODE: BB BGI, Port Callsign: 8PB) is a seaport in Bridgetown on the southwest coast of Barbados.[6] Situated at the North-Western end of Carlisle Bay, the harbour handles all of the country's international bulk ship-based trade and commerce.[7] In addition to international-shipping the Deep Water Harbour is the port of entry for southern-Caribbean cruise ships.[8] The port is one of three designated ports of entry in Barbados, along with the privately owned Port Saint Charles marina and the Sir Grantley Adams International Airport. The port's timezone is GMT −4, and it handles roughly 700,000[9] cruise passengers and 900,000 tonnes of containerised cargo per year.


Construction of the Deep Water Harbour began in 1956 by Costain Group of Britain,[10] and cost EC$28,000,000 through completion in 1961. The port was formed by creating a man-made isthmus across the shallow strait that existed off the coast of Fontabelle, St. Michael. The isthmus formed 90 acres of new land stretching from the original west coast of Barbados, out to a small uninhabited, ex-quarantine island just offshore, named Pelican Island. After the initial completion, the harbour later underwent a $22 million expansion seventeen years later.[3]

In 2002, Barbados Port Inc. contracted with Jan De Nul Group of Companies of Belgium to carry out dredging at the port facility. The dredging was deemed necessary to allow some of the world's largest cruise ships to berth in Barbados rather than anchoring offshore. The project followed a rigorous environmental monitoring programme by the Barbados Port Inc. along with key regulatory agencies, namely the Town Planning Department, the Coastal Zone Management Unit, the Environmental Engineering Division and the University of the West Indies' Natural Resources Management Programme to ensure that the oceanographic and sediment processes, the water quality, and the marine communities were not compromised in any way.[11] During this operation, the port's depth was increased to 11.6 metres (from 9.6 metres). Reclaimed material from the dredging was added to increase the port's cargo area by 9 acres.[12]

In December 2008, Minister of International Transport George Hutson announced that due to congestion between cargo and passenger ships at the Deep Water Harbour, the country needed to look at expansion at the facility following the last upgrade undertaken in 2002.[13] Due to the importance of Tourism to Barbados' economy, the government is presently reviewing a further $70 million upgrade.[14]

In September 2010, the Barbados government stated it was reviewing a list of joint-venture partners to construct the new cruise ship facilities at the port with expected construction to begin in 2011.[15]

Due to increased activity at the port, officials say it is poised to become a "super-hub of the southern Caribbean", rivalling Puerto Rico.[16][17][18]

In 2012, the Government of Barbados announced [19] the desire to establish a new separate Cruise terminal just to south along the Princess Alice Highway.[20][21][22] As advisors to the Government, Royal Caribbean and STI were selected to work with the government [23][24] on the project to be called The Sugar Point Cruise Development[25] or The Sugar Point Cruise Terminal. The facility will function as a means to separate cruise-traffic to the country from the containerised-traffic which will remain at the Deep Water Harbour. The move should help to mitigate delays which effect container-ships to Bridgetown which at times must have idle offshore for Cruise ships to make available a berth as cruise ships are given preference at the Harbour.[26] The first phase of the new terminal is expected to cost in the region of BDS$300 million, and dredge work is planned by the administration to begin in November 2012.[27]


Responsibility for administering the port is vested in the CEO of Barbados Port Incorporated (BPI). As a statutory corporation it oversees all matters affecting the efficient operations of the harbour facility. B.P.I. also advises the Ministry of International Business and International Transport who has ultimate authority for the Deep Water Harbour. Barbados Port Inc. is a member of: the American Association of Port Authorities,[28] the Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA),[29] the Port Management Association of the Caribbean (P.M.A.C.),[30][31] the Shipping Association of Barbados (SAB),[32] and an affiliate of the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI).[33]

It has been awarded the title of "Caribbean Port of the Year" for: 1993, 1995, 1997, 1998; the "Best Multi-Purpose Terminal (Container terminal)" in 2004 and 2005;[34] the safest port in the Caribbean region in 2011.[35][36] Top-Rated Southern Caribbean Destinations 2016 & 2017[37]


Tugboat Pelican II in Barbados.


Top trading partners:[38]

Imports: consumer goods, machinery, foodstuffs, construction materials, chemicals, fuel, electrical components

Top import sources (2009)
  • Trinidad and Tobago – 28.52%,
  • United States of America – 27.96%,
  • Colombia – 7.13%,
  • China – 4.76%,
  • United Kingdom – 4.39%

Exports: manufactures, sugar and molasses, cotton, rum, other foods and beverages, chemicals, light manufacturing, electrical components

Top export destinations (2009)
  • Trinidad and Tobago – 17.48%,
  • Jamaica – 15.63%,
  • United States of America – 8.93%,
  • Saint Lucia – 8.13%,
  • United Kingdom – 5.36%,
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – 5.04%,
  • Antigua and Barbuda – 4.12%


Terminal facilities
Berths Depth
Quay length
Breakwater 11.5 522 For Cruise vessels.
Sugar Berth 9.75 307 For Bulk sugar, molasses tankers.
(Cross) Berth #1 11 152 Naval, auxiliary vessels.
Berth #2 11.0 183 Cruise vessels, breakbulk vessels.
Berth #3 11.0 183 breakbulk, container vessels.
Berth #4 11.0 184 Container vessels.
Berth #5 11.0 65 Container vessels.
Shallow Draught 6.8 156 Inter-island cargo vessels (breakbulk)
Bulk Facility 9.75 183 Dry bulk vessels.
Esso Jetty 11.6 244 Petroleum tankers.
Needham’s Point 11.6 198 Petroleum tankers.
Oistins 10.0 172 Petroleum tankers.
Black Rock 7.5 122 Petroleum tankers.
Spring Garden 4.9 103 Petroleum tankers.

Passenger lines

The Deep-Water Harbour now acts as a home port for many of the British-based Cruise ship lines operating in the Caribbean region. Some of the Cruise Lines which visit or are home ported at the Deep Water Harbour include:[39]

Ships registry

Barbados has a small but increasing ships registry. The Barbados Maritime Ships Registry (BMSR) has seventy six (76) vessels flying the Barbados Flag.

See also


  1. ^ Aerial photo of the Deep Water Harbour
  2. ^ 2009 Statistics[permanent dead link], PMAC
  3. ^ a b CHAPTER 67A DEEP WATER HARBOUR (EXPANSION AND IMPROVEMENT)[permanent dead link] - Prior expansion 1978
  4. ^ Foreign Port Codes, Census.gov
  5. ^ Foreign Port Codes, Page International - Port Codes
  6. ^ "Port of Bridgetown" World Port Source, Port Detail
  7. ^ T, C (2006-10-25). "Barbados 'best home port'". Nation Newspaper. Archived from the original on 2007-03-10. Retrieved 2009-10-10. Barbados has at times been billed the largest and most active cruise line home port in the world. And Barbadians are fast becoming the beneficiaries of this growing multi-million-dollar industry. That was the word from Minister of Tourism Noel Lynch, as Barbados prepares to host 18 home-porting cruise ships during the coming winter tourist season. Lynch made these disclosures during a Press conference yesterday at the Caribbean Tourism Conference (CTC 29) taking place at the Westin and Sheraton Grand Bahama Lucaya Resort, Grand Bahama Island. "We will be having just about 17 or 18 ships turning in Barbados as a home port. And what will be happening in 2008 is that P&O Cruise Line (Pacific and Orient) is gearing up to bring an even larger ship to Barbados. Home porting contributes significantly to our numbers and to the economy. These ships cause people to be surprised about the level of provisioning that is done locally and the level of service which goes into these ships," he said. 
  8. ^ Applewhaite, Gillian (2009-10-10). "Barbados PM discusses growth of cruise business with Carnival CEO". Cayman Islands. CaribbeanNetNews.com. Retrieved 2009-10-10. BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS)—Barbados is considered central to Carnival PLC's developing cruise business, with three ships, Ventura, Oceana and Artemis, expected to home port in Bridgetown this winter season. This number should increase to four from winter 2010, when the new luxury ship Azura is launched. Chief Executive of Carnival UK, David Dingle, made this known during a meeting with Prime Minister David Thompson in Great Britain earlier this week. Describing the meeting as "very productive", Thompson said it was clear that Carnival UK saw Barbados as a key partner in the development of its cruise business within the Caribbean. [dead link]
  9. ^ B., J. M. (25 January 2011). "Forecast looking good for passenger growth". The Barbados Advocate. Archived from the original on 26 March 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2011. “Our thrust is to take the number of cruise passengers from 700,000 to 1.2 million per year. A significant percentage of these will be part of the Air/Sea and Stay/Cruise programs. Existing facilities at GAIA are already stressed to handle passenger volumes during the 12 to 4 p.m. period. The new focus of developing the air/sea program will necessitate a suitable review of the airport plant and no doubt this will be addressed in by the master plan,” he said. 
  10. ^ Deep Water at Bridgetown - Film by Richard Costain Ltd British Film Institute, 1961
  11. ^ Staff writer. "Cruise and Cargo Facilities". Barbados Port Inc. Archived from the original on 2010-09-03. 
  12. ^ Barbados Port Inc: Cruise and Cargo Facilities
  13. ^ T, C (2008-12-24). "Port call". Nation Newspaper. Archived from the original on 2011-05-26. Retrieved 2009-10-10. MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL TRANSPORT George Hutson yesterday expressed concern about increasing congestion at the Bridgetown Port. "Right now the cruise ships get priority and the cargo ships have to wait, but we are hoping to expand the facilities to be able to accommodate larger vessels," the minister said at a ceremony marking the inaugural visit of the Queen Victoria. "If we can get a couple of larger berths, it would create more space in the deep water harbour, and we would be able also accommodate larger ships and also offload cargo vessels while cruise ships are in port," he added. The 13-deck Queen Victoria was one of three cruise ships docking at the Bridgetown Port yesterday, the others being Ocean Village and Caribbean Princess. 
  14. ^ Jordan, Ricky (2009-11-25). "$70m cruise plan". Nation Newspaper. Archived from the original on 2009-11-29. 
  15. ^ Thangaraj, Patricia (9 September 2010). "Cruise facilities to be expanded". The Barbados Advocate. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2010. 
  16. ^ H., J. (27 December 2010). "High hopes for Port". The Barbados Advocate. Archived from the original on 26 March 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2010. THERE is an emerging belief that Barbados’ port will become a super-hub in the South, mirroring the cruise activities of Puerto Rico in the North. So says Chairman of the Barbados Port Inc., David Harding, who stressed that the management team is committed to making Barbados the number one port in the Caribbean. 
  17. ^ Bynoe, Kenmore (26 December 2010). "Close to 7 000 cruisers". Nation Newspaper. Retrieved 31 December 2010. In welcoming the crew of the Queen Elizabeth, on its inaugural trip, Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy expressed joy and pride that Barbados was able to accommodate the largest vessels in the world without having to use the method of years ago, where ships berthed offshore and passengers were ferried to port. 
  18. ^ Bynoe, Kenmore (27 December 2010). "Queen comes to port". Nation Newspaper. Retrieved 31 December 2010. Barbados’ bid to become the No. 1 cruise destination in the Southern Caribbean made a gigantic splash in the right direction when one of the largest cruise ships, the Queen Elizabeth, sailed into the Bridgetown Port at dawn yesterday morning. 
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ [2]
  21. ^ [3]
  22. ^ [4]
  23. ^ [5]
  24. ^ [6]
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2012-09-30. 
  26. ^ [7]
  27. ^ [8]"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2012-09-30. 
  28. ^ Corporate Members - Caribbean Ports Archived 2012-02-05 at the Wayback Machine., American Association of Port Authorities
  29. ^ Barbados Port Inc. Archived July 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., Caribbean Shipping Association
  30. ^ About the Port Management Association of the Caribbean (P.M.A.C.) Archived November 1, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  31. ^ Barbados Port Inc. Archived July 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., Port Management Association of the Caribbean, P.M.A.C.
  32. ^ Shipping Association of Barbados - About us
  33. ^ Caribbean Maritime Institute Archived November 14, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  34. ^ Awards Archived July 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., Caribbean Shipping Association
  35. ^ Barbados port recognized as the safest in the Caribbean
  36. ^ Good re port
  37. ^ CruiseCritic.com "Barbados Cruise Port" Check url= value (help). Cruise Critic. 2018-01-01. Retrieved 2018-01-01. 
  38. ^ Barbados profile, CIA World factbook (Economy)
  39. ^ Staff. "Cruise Lines". Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA). Barbados, W.I. Archived from the original on 2007-07-01. 

External links