Lets support our sea-port upgrading - Solomon Star News

Lets support our sea-port upgrading

20 January 2014

Last week a milestone event was sealed with the signing of a deal to improve Honiara International sea-port.

Its one of the long outstanding projects which the country had long been waiting for.

Late last year the project was close to being called off following internal issues between the minister of infrastructure development Seth Gukuna and ports workers in relation to the reappointment of Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) chief executive officer.

However, the government was determined to see the project off the ground and continued to push for it.

On Friday a signing ceremony was held which will allow project to proceed anytime soon.

Japan, through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is funding the port improvement project, which is expected to cost around US$25 million (SBD$100m).

The project is strategically important as this is Solomon Islands sea-gateway to the world.

Supervising minister of foreign affairs and minister for planning and aid coordination Connelly Sandakabatu said the government sees the project as a pivotal service under the service sector to improve the present economic viability and excellence according to marine international standards.

He said this project will allow for better and efficient engagement on maritime transport and enhance greater connectivity for both regional and international trading, boosting the Solomon Islands economy.

JICA believes this long awaited project is going to start and it will definitely benefit all Solomon Islanders.

At the moment the Honiara International wharf faces so much problem in relation to vessel congestion, inefficiency, and safety of cargo handling operation.

So with the new project, it aims to ease the problem by constructing an international wharf that has a length of 15m berth.

This new wharf should be enough to facilitate the congestion of calling ships and significantly reduce a berth waiting time of ships to almost zero.

Currently if theres a container ship at the wharf, another boat would have to wait outside until that boat concludes loading and unloading.

Secondly, the project will see the expansion of the container yard to allow it hold more containers.

This will increase the stacking capacity of containers by 50 percent and the correspondence to forthcoming increase of container handling volume become possible.

Thirdly, the project would allow the set-up of accessories like water supply facility, lighting facility and beacon.

So it’s a huge undertaking which will facelift Honiara’s international port.

And no doubt the completion of the project will boost Honiara as one of the busy hubs in the region and will contribute to activate the economy of Solomon Islands.

Solomon Islands government must not let go of this project. Its important that support is given to the project especially the parties involved such as Solomon Islands ports authority, ministry of infrastructure development (MID) and JICA.