ADB & New Zealand Help Vanuatu Improve Ports And Expand Interisland Shipping

PORT VILA, VANUATU—The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the New Zealand Government today joined the Government of Vanuatu to officially launch the Vanuatu Interisland Shipping Support Project which will improve domestic port facilities and expand shipping services to remote islands.

“This project is all about re-connecting people in rural and remote areas to health and education services and markets in other parts of Vanuatu and the region,” said Xianbin Yao, Director General of ADB’s Pacific Department, who participated in a launch ceremony. “It is modeled on the successes of similar projects in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands.”

Vanuatu's Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Katokai Kalosil, New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully and ADB’s Pacific Department Director General Xianbin Yao participated in the launch ceremony.

The Interisland Shipping Support Project is being implemented over five years and will finance a new interisland terminal in the capital, Port Vila, and construct new jetties on the islands of Malekula, Ambae, Tanna and Pentecost. The project will also rehabilitate several jetties in remote areas of Vanuatu.

The new interisland terminal in Port Vila will provide sufficient berths to handle the growing volume of vessels, as well as separate transit facilities for men, women and the disabled.

“Recognizing the critical situation of inadequate domestic ship berthing in the country, we welcomed the assistance of the New Zealand Government and the Asian Development Bank to address this need,” said Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Katokai Kalosil, from the Government of Vanuatu.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully welcomed the project, noting that shipping services are a vital life line in the Pacific. “They connect communities, move goods to market and support the tourism industry,” he said. “New Zealand is pleased to be working with the ADB and Vanuatu to deliver this major upgrade of interisland shipping services.”

The franchise shipping scheme component of the project will enable private sector ship operators to provide services to commercially unviable destinations in remote parts of Vanuatu. The project aims to spur rural development. The project also promotes the growth of rural productivity.

The project is expected to cost around $26.8 million, with the New Zealand Government providing a grant of $12.6 million, ADB providing a loan of almost $11 million from its concessional Asian Development Fund, and the Government of Vanuatu contributing $3.4 million.