Background Information

1.       This wharf is part of the Government of Vanuatu overarching strategy plans to promote and to encourage economic development in areas outside Port Vila. In 2011, during the development of the national Infrastructure Strategic Investment Plan (VISIP), it is included as one of the priority need for improvement of an International Port Facility in Luganville. Under the Ministry, which I am responsible for, the Corporate Plan for MIPU 2011-2013 in the shipping sector, included the following objectives: (i) upgrade and repair/maintain port navigational systems in Port Vila and Santo; and (ii) improve port infrastructure and facilities, which also includes the rehabilitation of the domestic facilities of the Simonsen Wharf. This is now being implemented under the VIISP.


Historical information of Luganville wharf

2.       The international wharf is old, built during WWII, and extended in 1985. At its existing conditions in 2011, large cargo ships (38 in 2011) and the occasional cruise ship (6 in 2011) visit the international port. However, the old section is in poor condition with the sea wall collapsing. The walling of the newer section is sound but the bollards for securing large vessels (e.g. large cruise ships) are inadequate. The longest visiting ship length is 290m, but most ships are around 240m. Mooring arrangements, even for the 240m ships, are unsatisfactory as the vessels extend beyond the wharf limits.

 3.       A new extension constructed in 1991 that was funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB). The main issues concerning the old main wharf are lack of control over cargo flows, safety and security, and without active maintenance the wharf is exhibiting significant deterioration and structural failure, particularly the western end.


4.       Luganville Wharf is the main wharf for handling the copra trade in Vanuatu with 75% of copra exported from Santo being shipped via the Luganville Wharf. The Luganville wharf is also the major shipping hub and transit point for all vessels serving the northern islands of Vanuatu.

5.       Luganville is an important entry point for tourism in North Vanuatu. Improving the international wharf will foster tourism in Santo, which is seen to have some potential.


6.       The need for rehabilitation of Luganville Wharf is essential since it now takes both international and local vessels. In the case of old wharf, certain structural components of the wharf have been damaged by earthquake and structures eroding. If not addressed, this cause more damage to the wharf and provides risks for the ships and passengers.

7.       Additionally, the larger international vessels require more space to efficiently and safely deliver services to the users.

8.       On 24 December, 2013 an MOU was signed between the Government of Vanuatu represented by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities and Shanghai Construction Group Co to conduct feasibility studies.


9.       On the 24th of December 2014, the contract was signed between the Government of Vanuatu and the Shanghai Construction Group Co (SCG). On the 28th July 2015 the construction to rehabilitate the Luganville Wharf began. The works has taken just over two (2) years to complete. It is important to note that the completion date for this contract is for three (3) years. So on the behalf of the Employer, I congratulate Mr Huang and his team for completing this project well ahead of schedule. (a round of applauds)

Construction Overview

1.       The newly constructed Wharf at the moment has the capacity to dock 2 DWT freighters at the same time or 1 GT large cruise. And the inbound and outbound of the wharf will keep a 15 percent annual increase. It will also provide safer, more efficient, and more convenient services to international and inter-islands marine industry as well as tourism in Vanuatu.

2.       Funded by Chinese Government through Concessional Loan, the Project of Rehabilitation and Extension of Luganville Main Wharf started on July 28, 2015, was contracted by Shanghai Construction Group at a cost of approximately 500 million yuan, approximately 9 billion vatu.

3.       Designed with a 360-metre-long wharf apron, the new wharf after completion will be able to berth a 30,000 dead-weight tonnage cargo ship or a 100,000 GT cruise ship.

4.       All main construction works of the wharf apron, which includes a 76-metre extension towards east and a 152-metre reconstruction on the west, are now completed by Shanghai Construction Group due to the continuous hard work and close collaboration with the locals. The main structure of Eastern Apron was completed on February, 2016 and Western Apron on April, 2016.

5.       During the past construction period, Shanghai Construction Group has overcome the challenges brought by the short of supply in materials, daily operations of the Wharf and other unexpected events, and in the end the Company managed to keep up with the construction schedule, or even get ahead of it, 6months ahead of schedule.

6.       More than 50 ni-Vanuatu workers were employed for these land area construction works after proper training and they are very happy to engage in this construction process. Again, I wish to express my sincere thanks to SCG for including the locals into their workforce.

Conclusion remarks:

Santo, being the largest island in Vanuatu, is recognised by the GoV,  as having potential to increase its agricultural and tourism activities in the future.  The Port of Luganville, is certainly, the most important port in Northern Vanuatu, will be able to facilitate such developments.

The launching of this historical and momentous Luganville Wharf is a cornerstone to our Strategic Development Framework as Luganville Wharf will become a hallmark of our economic development - boosting trade and economic enterprises and more importantly unlocking the potential of Santo’s tourism industry to deliver growth and improved livelihoods of our people.

Today would therefore mark a vital step forward in Government's provision of infrastructure to facilitate growth, generate progress and promote prosperity in Luganville, SANMA, and other northern provinces.

The people of Luganville, SANMA, and the other northern provinces, deserve the support from the central Government to address the need of the people. The GoV has responded in kind with the construction of this brand new facility to ensure that economic development in this part of Vanuatu is supported.  It is without doubt, a very huge investment, with the amount of over vt9.0 billion but we believe that it is the money well spent. Luganville you deserve it!!

I would like to acknowledge with sincerest gratitude His Excellency, Mr Liu Quan and the Government of the People's Republic of China for the assistance and generous funding of this state of the art Project.

Also I wish to offer my support as Minister of the Infrastructure, to the people of Luganville, that the Ministry that I am responsible for will continue to work with you to ensure that the facility is maintained and functioning. Furthermore, that we will work very closely with the Provincial Gov and the LMC, on any future plans that they may have on the integration of the infrastructures in and around the Luganville precinct. I understand that there is a feasibility studies being carried out by ADB at the moment for Luganville Integrated Urban Plan. It sounds very exciting, and I look forward to offer any assistance that you may require.

Finally, at this point of time, I take this opportunity to thank all of your present today, the Hon. PM, the Contractor, the Hon. President of Sanma, the chiefs, the landowners, the local communities and all you interested stakeholders for all you supports and the assistances that you have contributed to make this project a successful one.

To the people of Luganville, This is your wharf. It has taken a lot of resources, time and efforts from different fields of expertise to get to where we are at the moment. Please take care of it and use it wisely. So with these comments, good luck and best wishes for the brand new wharf.

Thank you for your attention.

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