This project for the Rehabilitation and Extension of Luganville Main Wharf was started on 28th July 2015, and today I am honoured to be present at the opening of this great facility.
This project was funded through a Concessional Loan from the Chinese Government and was built by the Shanghai Construction Group.
The Wharf is designed with a 360-metre-long wharf apron, the new wharf will be able to berth a 30,000 dead-weight tonnage cargo ship or a 100,000 Gross Tonnage cruise ship. This project also includes a tourism terminal, 3 warehouses, roads, container yards and other supporting facilities.
Following our ongoing threats from climate change and natural disasters, the wharf has been customised with many new capabilities. We can now say confidently that these new facilities are capable to withstand natural disasters such as earthquakes and cyclones, and despite some difficulties along the way, we are happy that the project has come to its completion on schedule.
It is the policy of this current government to ensure that such undertakings provide an opportunity for employment creation and capacity building to our local contractors and individual ni-Vanuatu.
I am pleased to see that this project has provided job opportunities to over 50 ni-Vanuatu and this is a great blessing for this country. We have seen jobs created, lives changed, skills multiplied, and this is a policy direction that this government will continue to pursue into the future.
The Project for the Rehabilitation and Extension of Luganville Main Wharf is of great significance to the local economy and tourism in Santo and to Vanuatu as whole. It will provide more efficient and convenient services to international and inter-islands marine services throughout the country.
Vanuatu has big potential and comparative advantage in the production of Agriculture goods and the development of tourism. However, these cannot be achieved to the maximum capacity without proper infrastructure in place, particularly wharf access.
The bulk of the main agriculture production, such as Copra, Cattle, Kava, Sandalwood and Cocoa comes from Santo, Aore, Malo and neighbouring islands. There is potential for expansion in the productive sector now that the wharf extension is completed, stimulating economic activities and contributing to the Country’s Economic Growth.
Tourism is one of the major drivers of economic growth and socio economic development in the world, particularly, in Small Island Developing States such as Vanuatu. Tourism has been one of the best performing economic activities during the period of the global economic crisis from 2008 to 2010.
Even though Vanuatu is vulnerable to natural disasters we are endowed with some of the most beautiful places, with spectacular sightseeing, white sandy beaches, clear crystal waters, tropical climate, green environment, rich cultural heritage and with friendly people. These natural assets have created significant value and a source for our main tourist attractions and are the main reason why Vanuatu has a comparative advantage in the sector
To put it into perspective, Tourism related activities contributed around 7 per cent of total GDP however the overall spillover effects is quite significant. The tourism sector not only generates foreign exchange earnings but also contributed to socio-economic development by way of providing more employment opportunities for the local people in the areas of handicraft, and small business enterprise.
Santo has great potential for further tourism development given its natural beauty, adventurous sites, and World War II sites which can attract many tourists. The President Coolidge is a classic example.
The clear crystal waters and diving sites, magnificent Caves and Waterfalls, Blue Holes, white sand beaches and many beautiful Offshore Islands including Ratua, Aore, Tutuba and many more can be found in Santo.
The upgrading and extension of the Luganville International Wharf is a major development that will attract more tourism to Santo and should create more employment opportunities, generate income and contribute significantly to Vanuatu’s Economic Growth.
Now that the Wharf is completed, we are expecting a high increase number of cruise ships coming to Luganville, and we must be ready to meet the challenge for our benefits.
The completion of the wharf extension will certainly also have a filtering impact on the whole of Sanma Province and the neighboring Northern Provinces and islands particularly in the agriculture sector and will certainly boast economic development for locals and facilitate trade to urban and rural populations, benefiting the Northern Provinces and the wider economy.
On behalf of the Government, and the People of Vanuatu, I would like to thank the Chinese Government for the funding provided through concessional loan and Shangai Group Construction for the construction and completion of the Luganville International Wharf on Schedule.
The Vanuatu – China relations are broadening and deepening. Our strategic partnership with China has brought us many benefits and is far from exhausting its potential.
Finally, allow me to convey my warmest gratitude to the Government of the Republic of China and those that have worked here before to ensure that our relations are maintained till today.
Thank you to the Chinese contractors, entrepreneurs or business men and women for all your contribution to the economic growth and providing employment opportunities to the citizens of this country. I acknowledge the comradeship and friendship forged between the Chinese team and our ni-Vanuatu workers who we belief have gained a lot of experience and skills through working with you.
To the people of Samna and the Northern Provinces including Malampa, Penama and Torba congratulations for this big achievement. It is our utmost priority to make good use of the Wharf facility. This is our pride and we must be proud of and take good care of it.
Pipol blo Sanma mo olgeta blo ol Northern Provinces, yufala imas glad from bigfala achievement ia. Niu fala Wharf mo ol facility blo hem oli door blo fulap development wei mbae oli ikam lo yumi mo nation as a whole.
Hemi therefore wan duty blo yumi everiwan includum; Kafman, ol Port Otoriti, Olgeta wei oli manejem facility ia, mo yumi wei mbae yumi usum including private sector blo mas tekem care lo olgeta. Mi appeal lo Stevedoring Campany blo yumi blo mas ensure sei yumi putum ol proper procedure mo protocol inplace blo manjem use blo infrastructure developmen ia lo fasen wei hemi continue blo contribute lo economic development blo yumi while lo sem taem safe guardem ol user blo hem.
All being said, I now have the great pleasure and honour to announce to you all that the Luganville International Wharf is officially open".
Thank you all for your kind attention.
Tankio tumas, Merci beaucoup