Washington DC, September 17, 2008—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, has agreed to finance the expansion and
improvement of the largest barge fleet on the Parana-Paraguay river system,
an investment that will help farmers in difficult-to-access regions of
South America deliver their products to global export markets.
IFC will provide a $60 million financing package to UABL Limited, whose
river barges currently transport iron ore and soy products that are destined
for markets in Europe and Asia. IFC will also help raise an additional
$15 million from third parties.
“IFC is very pleased to be able to support UABL Limited’s expansion,
which will connect landlocked Bolivia, Western Brazil, and Paraguay with
the Atlantic Ocean. This investment will increase the options for river
transportation over more than 2,200 kilometers of waterways, using a fuel-efficient
method that will help mitigate climate change,” said Bernard E. Sheahan,
IFC Director for Infrastructure.
Felipe Menéndez Ross, President of UABL Limited, said, “We are very pleased
to have agreed on this very significant long term financing with IFC as
it will help us to execute our expansion plan in the river system where
we expect to invest over U$S 200 million by the end of 2010.” UABL Limited
intends to purchase newer and more fuel-efficient engines for some of its
barges and refurbish the hulls on others to increase carrying capacity.
The company also plans to acquire additional tugboats and barges.
The fleet expansion is expected to support agricultural development in
areas that are part of the river system but lack adequate road or rail
links. It will help mitigate climate change by increasing river-transportation
capacity, which is more environmentally friendly than truck transportation.
The project also is expected to lower transportation costs along the river
system, promote competition, and create jobs in the region.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to
escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic
growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development,
mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation
services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $16.2
billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. For
more information, visit www.ifc.org.
About UABL Limited
UABL Limited is owned by Ultrapetrol, Bahamas, an industrial transportation
company serving the marine transportation needs in target markets. With
its extensive and diverse fleet of vessels, it serves the shipping markets
for grain, vegetable oils, minerals, crude oil, petroleum, and refined
petroleum products, as well as the offshore oil platform supply market
and the leisure passenger cruise market.