During a visit to Vanuatu last week, a delegation led by the New Zealand Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Winston Peters, visited the South Paray domestic wharf on Friday 7th June 2019 where he was briefed on the current status of the project.
South Paray domestic wharf, which comes under New Zealand and ADB-funded Vanuatu Inter-Island Shipping Support Project (VISSP), includes the construction of three new wharves, and repairs to two existing wharves at an initial project value of over Vt4 billion.
The delegation was received onsite by Director of Vanuatu Project Management Unit, Mr. Benjamin Shing before being briefed about the status of the works to date, and what has happened since December 2017, when the Government stopped the construction works, due to structural and design issues .
Additional briefings were conducted onsite by the VISSP Project Manager, and the consultants Beca International, who have been contracted by the New Zealand Government to carry out further investigations to determine the full extent of the issues and undertake any necessary design changes.
During the briefings, the delegation was advised that the investigations at South Paray are anticipated to commence later this month, which following the redesign, will allow the construction to resume in mid-2020.
As the completion of the new facility is not anticipated until 2021, and the current temporary shipping facilities at Pontoon Bay were not designed to accommodate these delays, negotiations are underway to construct a new temporary facility between South Paray and the Lapetasi International Wharf. This will allow the temporary facilities at Pontoon Bay to be dismantled.
Meanwhile, some of the works at the other VISSP locations are likely to be brought forward to this year. This would include the repairs to Lenakel (Tanna) and Litzlitz (Malekula) facilities, and some temporary repairs to Port Sandwich (Malekula) and Simonsen (Espiritu Santo) to ensure the people of these islands can continue to trade and market their products.