The Ifira Ports Development Services (IPDS) moved into new Lapetasi Wharf Administration building yesterday.

IPDS General Manager (GM), Russell Mitchel confirmed the milestone.

“Some months ago, we took over the workshop area in the terminal and 6,000 metres of paved area to store the containers,” he conveyed in an interview with Vanuatu Nightly News’ Kizzy Kalsakau.

“Yesterday, I officially took over the occupation of the new administration building. It’s a three-storey building with about five and a half thousand square metres of office area for the Ifira Trustees Limited (ITL) group of companies.

“The ground floor is specifically for the public to be able to come and pay their required fees and handling for stevedoring charges. Quarantine and Customs are also in the same building.

“So, hopefully we have a one-stop shop for our customers.

“With the relocation, the IPDS is in the process of closing their office above the Jungle Café.

“All administration, operations and executive are moving in today and tomorrow. We will start business as normal at the Lapetasi Admin building, on Monday,” said GM Mitchell.

“We are currently installing a terminal operating system, which will be electronically controlling the operations both on the ship, in the yard and in the gate.

“In the future, when it’s up and running, all consignees, Customs will be able to access the system and update themselves on their containers, movements, location and clearance.

“Custom’s ASYCUDA system will be linked to our terminal operating system, allowing electronic clearance of containers.

“We are moving into the 21st century, with regards to streamlining the way we do business.”

Commenting on the progress of the project, GM Mitchell said, “Anyone driving down the wharf road can actually see the silent features of the terminal, which is almost complete.

“It is probably 70% complete. We are still on track to receive a vessel on the new wharf in mid October.

“Once that area is complete, probably unofficially it would be December. There is still some extra civil works that due to issues out of our control like the weather and a few other logistics, some parts of the terminal won’t be complete.

“But from a full operation, we’ll move from the main wharf, from where we are now into the Lapetasi around mid-October.

“From then on, the main wharf will be tourist precinct and only for tankers and gas tankers”.

The wharf is 200 metres long.

“We can take ships, up to 300 metres LOA (Length Overall) from the bow to the stern.

“It just depends on the length of ship-if it around 120-130 metres; we can put two on the berth,” the IPDS GM added.

“But with our port rotation, we usually only have one ship available.”

IPDS Executive Director, MP Joshua Kalsakau described the relocation to the wharf as the beginning of a dream and journey.

“We must not forget that the Government is part of this and this is part of a huge loan,” he said.

“All of us have obligations and responsibilities to carry out, as expected by the public.

“It is important for us to work as a team and pull up our socks. There are outstanding tasks; some assets still need to be transferred. We must carry our responsibilities carefully and professionally.”

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