Thursday, August 29, 2013

Essential Freight Boost as Archipelago Gets Infrastructure Investment to Help Cargo and Passengers

Money Made Available to Improve Shipping and Tourist Connections
Shipping News Feature

NEW ZEALAND – VANUATU – With a population of about 240,000 spread over an archipelago of around 60 populated islands, Vanuatu is dependent on maritime transport. However, a number of sector constraints hold back economic growth and service delivery in Vanuatu, as inadequate infrastructure limits cargo and passenger movement and in some cases prevents vessels carrying essential freight from reaching rural areas. As with so many thinly populated world-wide island groups, unfavourable geography and poorly functioning markets make some services commercially unviable.

Now however, New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has announced an investment of NZ$17 million toward improving cargo and passenger services and port facilities in Vanuatu. A joint initiative between the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Governments of Vanuatu and New Zealand, the Vanuatu Inter-Island Shipping Support Project comprises two major components: infrastructure investments in the capital of Port Vila and five outer islands, and the establishment of a shipping support scheme. Speaking on the Vanuatu leg of the 2013 Pacific Mission, Minister McCully said:

“Shipping services are a lifeline in the Pacific, connecting communities, moving goods to market and supporting the tourism industry. [The Inter-Island Shipping Support Project] will also allow for the construction of a new inter-island terminal in Port Vila to accommodate the growing volume of vessels and increasing tourist numbers.”

The project, with an overall price tag of NZ$34 million, will construct or rebuild up to eight wharves and jetties across Vanuatu, establish a pilot programme to support shipping services to remote areas, and update Vanuatu’s maritime safety legislation and regulations.

Photo: The wreck of the ss President Coolidge shows the dangers of navigating in the waters off Vanuatu. Sunk in 1937 in a typhoon she is now a mecca for recreational divers.