Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Governments of New Zealand and Vanuatu, have provided additional financing of around USD 25 million to the Vanuatu Interisland Shipping Support Project.
The project is upgrading Vanuatu’s port facilities, expanding shipping services to the provinces, and improving maritime safety regulation and compliance.
The additional financing will fund the reconstruction of Simonsen Wharf in Luganville, the proposed dredging of a channel in South Paray Bay to access the new Port Vila domestic wharf, and consultancy services for a coastal process study and assessment of environmental impacts from the proposed dredged channel.
”This is a vitally important project for the country as an island archipelago. Our people who live in some of the most remote islands and locations will benefit immensely from the InterIsland Shipping Support Project,” Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Joe Natuman said.
Key project activities include the construction of a new interisland terminal in the capital, Port Vila, and three new jetties on the islands of Malekula, Ambae and Pentecost. The terminal in Port Vila will provide sufficient berths to handle an increased number of vessels, as well as separate transit facilities for men, women and the disabled. The project will also repair Litzlitz wharf on Malekula and Lenakel wharf on Tanna.
A subsidized shipping scheme is assisting private sector operators to deliver shipping services to remote destinations that would be commercially unviable unless part of a route. Assistance is also being given to establish a functioning Maritime Regulatory Authority, with support for developing appropriate legislation and policies focused on meeting international maritime safety obligations.
”Safer and more reliable shipping services between the islands are key to Vanuatu’s development,” said New Zealand High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Georgina Roberts. ”Increased connectivity will bring economic and social benefits for the country, including opening up opportunities for exporting local handicrafts and agricultural produce.”
The project is being carried out over 6 years, and with the additional financing, the revised cost is expected to be about USD 51.62 million.