(ADB)The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the New Zealand Government are assisting Vanuatu with upgrading its ports and jetties and improving the safety, reliability, and frequency of interisland shipping services.
The project will provide subsidies to encourage private sector ship operators to provide services to remote, otherwise commercially unviable destinations. Better terms of trade for remote rural areas and increased agricultural production – with farmers able to more easily get hold of seeds and fertilizers – are direct benefits expected from the project.
“This will reconnect people in the remote and poorest parts of Vanuatu to markets, education, and health services, thereby promoting economic growth,” said Robert Wihtol, Director General of ADB’s Pacific Department. “New Zealand, as a founding member of ADB, continues to play a key role in helping Pacific governments achieve their sustainable development goals.”
Vanuatu’s economy is dependent on agriculture, with production taking place mostly in remote, rural areas with poor access to suitable maritime infrastructure or reliable shipping services. Jetties and wharves in some areas are in such poor condition that ships cannot berth, forcing cargo to be offloaded into small boats and causing delays and safety issues.
The Interisland Shipping Support Project, to be implemented over four years, will finance the building of a new interisland terminal in the capital, Port Vila, and construct new jetties on the islands of Malekula, Ambae, Tanna and Pentecost. The project will also rehabilitate several jetties in remote areas.
The project is expected to cost around $26.8 million, with ADB is providing a loan of almost $11 million from its concessional Asian Development Fund, and the New Zealand Government providing a grant of $12.6 million equivalent. The Government of Vanuatu is contributing $3.4 million.