Water transport is crucial for small, isolated countries like Vanuatu.

Vanuatu, an archipelago in the South Pacific, is famous for its beaches, rugged terrain, and peaks and valleys.

Vanuatu is growing fast. To keep this momentum going, an interisland connection is critical.

With over 240,000 people spread over 60 islands, Vanuatu needs water transport to access basic services, jobs, and markets. Without efficient and effective interisland shipping, growth will lag and opportunities will be lost, leaving more people in poverty.

Since 2011, ADB and New Zealand have been helping Vanuatu improve its water transport sector. Their Interisland Shipping Support Project focuses not just on infrastructure but also on improving water transport services and capacities. The aim is to make shipping effective, efficient, and able to reach remote areas.

Buoyed by ADB’s and New Zealand’s support, Vanuatu is now on a steady course to improve its water transport sector.

The project is building a wharf in South Paray and a shipping terminal in Port Vila. It also rehabilitated two jetties in remote areas. New shipping schemes were introduced to incentivize private operators to deploy more voyages, with regular frequency, to more routes. The project also helped establish a new regulator, the Office of Maritime Regulator, to oversee maritime safety and the regulation of seaports.

These changes have strengthened Vanuatu’s interisland connections and invigorated the country’s economy.

With momentum building, Vanuatu has already seen over 190 interisland voyages since the project started with many reaching its most remote areas. Improving Vanuatu’s shipping will set the foundation for the country’s long-term growth and give the people more opportunities, services, and choices.

ADB, New Zealand, and Vanuatu: Working together to connect Vanuatu with growth, opportunity, and the world