Cook Islands: Avatiu Port Development Project

Sovereign Project | 40287-013 Status: Closed


ADB is helping Cook Islands expand Avatiu Port, which handles 90% of imports by sea. The project will extend the life of the port by 30 years and enhance safety and efficiency of operations. It will upgrade the main wharf, making it less vulnerable to damage from large waves and effects of extreme weather.  The project will also widen the harbor entrance to enable larger vessels to berth at the wharf.

Latest Project Documents

Project Data Sheets (PDS) contain summary information on the project or program. Because the PDS is a work in progress, some information may not be included in its initial version but will be added as it becomes available. Information about proposed projects is tentative and indicative.

The Public Communications Policy (PCP) recognizes that transparency and accountability are essential to development effectiveness. It establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced.

The Accountability Mechanism provides a forum where people adversely affected by ADB-assisted projects can voice and seek solutions to their problems and report alleged noncompliance of ADB's operational policies and procedures.

In preparing any country program or strategy, financing any project, or by making any designation of, or reference to, a particular territory or geographic area in this document, the Asian Development Bank does not intend to make any judgments as to the legal or other status of any territory or area.

Project Name Avatiu Port Development Project
Project Number 40287-013
Country Cook Islands
Project Status Closed
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Grant
Source of Funding / Amount
Loan 2472-COO: Avatiu Port Development Project
Ordinary capital resources US$ 8.63 million
Loan 2473-COO: Avatiu Port Development Project
Asian Development Fund US$ 6.88 million
Grant 0249-COO: Avatiu Port Development Project (supplementary)
Climate Change Fund US$ 800,000.00
Loan 2739-COO: Avatiu Port Development Project (supplementary)
Ordinary capital resources US$ 4.70 million
Strategic Agendas Environmentally sustainable growth
Drivers of Change Governance and capacity development
Sector / Subsector

Transport - Water transport (non-urban)

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Gender equity
Description The Project will rehabilitate and expand the capacity of Avatiu port. The Project comprises (i) widening the harbor entrance, (ii) dredging to increase the depth alongside the wharf plus dredging and enlarging the ship turning area, and (iii) reconstructing and realigning the quay and repairing the adjacent wharf deck.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

In 2007, the Government adopted the Preventive Infrastructure Master Plan (IMP), an integral part of the National Sustainable Development Plan 2007 2010. The IMP concluded that lack of investment in maintenance, rehabilitation, and upgrading of basic infrastructure has resulted in aging systems that do not provide appropriate levels of service to meet current demand and support sustained growth.

Avatiu is the principal international port for the Cook Islands, as well as the transshipment port for cargo to the second most populated island of Aitutaki and the less populated outer islands. The country is heavily reliant on international imports by sea to support its tourism industry the mainstay of the country's economy as well as for general imports and exports. Continued efficient operation of the port, its security against periodic cyclone events, and its development to accommodate changes in regional shipping methods are therefore critical to the Cook Islands' economy and the social well-being of its population.

The wharf is weak, aging, and vulnerable to damage from storms and impact from vessels. The port is at the margin of safe operations for international cargo vessels currently serving the Cook Islands. Meanwhile, longer, deeper-draft, and more efficient cargo vessels are planned for the Pacific Islands trade in the next few years. The existing vessels will be removed from service. The larger ships cannot be handled through Avatiu at present, due to limited depth alongside the wharf and in the harbor, berthing length limitations, and inadequate turning area within the harbor. The length limitation also prevents larger cruise vessels from berthing at Avatiu, thus limiting the economic benefit to be gained from this part of the tourism market. Without the Project, there will be escalating costs for periodic repair of the wharf and the port's use will need to be restricted to only smaller vessels.

Costs will be higher, and there will be adverse economic impacts.

Impact Continued economic growth and well-being of the population

Project Outcome

Description of Outcome Secure and efficient port infrastructure in Rarotonga
Progress Toward Outcome All core Civil works including dredging had been completed and the contractors withdrew from the site in August 2012. The upgraded port project was officially commissioned in March 2013. There was savings under the consultancy budget which the EA requested to be use for additional work in terms of a covered shed for shipping companies; Ports workshop extension to enable large equipments to be parked under cover; and refurbish existing workshop. ADB received and approved a formal request from the government on the proposed additional work including request for extension of loan closing date. The tender for the additional work was called in May 2013 and bids closed in June 2013. Contract were awarded thereafter to 2 local contractors and additional works were completed by December 2013.
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

Construction of priority infrastructure:

1. Reconstruction of the quay and wharf to extend port life to 2040

2. Strengthening and realignment of the wharf deck to increase mooring bollard strength and the harbor turning diameter space, including installation of strengthened points for raising fenders

3. Dredging of the international sections of the harbor to permit vessels of draft up to 7.0 meters to berth and turn

4. Widening of the harbor entrance to improve clearances for large vessels

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)
Geographical Location Cook Islands, Rarotonga

Safeguard Categories

Environment B
Involuntary Resettlement B
Indigenous Peoples C

Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects

Environmental Aspects

The Project is classified as Environmental Category B in accordance with ADBs Environment Policy (2002) and the Environmental Assessment Guidelines (2003). Accordingly, an initial environmental examination (IEE) has been prepared for the proposed Project (Supplementary Appendix B) and a summary IEE is in Supplementary Appendix C. The Project will also comply with the Governments environmental requirements as specified in the Environmental Act 2003, and thus the environmental assessment has been reviewed by the National Environment Service (NES) and prior consent from NES will be obtained.

Potential impacts are mainly those associated with construction, particularly dredging of 107,000 cubic meters (m3) of bottom sediment and 25,000 m3 of concrete rubble. Six samples of dredged materials taken from the proposed dredging area showed that they consist mostly of sands and coral rubbles, and the silt content is only 2%. Chemical analysis of the dredged sediment has confirmed the absence of toxic or otherwise harmful levels of contaminants that would have required special consideration when selecting disposal sites. Environmental impacts of dredging will be mitigated by means of (i) a detailed dredging program, with proper sequencing of activities; (ii) use of a silt curtain; and (iii) staging and drying of spoil on-site, and stockpiling of spoil at the contractors quarry. About 10% of the material will be used for construction on-site, and the rest will be utilized off-site or disposed of in landfill areas. In previous dredging activities, there was high demand for sand and rubble that resulted in sales to the public as aggregate, fill, or soak pit material.

Overall, the IEE predicted insignificant environmental impacts of the Project because of the following: (i) the Project will be undertaken within the footprint of the existing harbor and port operations, (ii) there are no sensitive habitats in the vicinity of the harbor, and (iii) the harbor has in fact undergone previous projects of a similar nature (blasting, dredging, and wharf construction) without significant environmental impacts (i.e., in 1980, there were dredged about 200,000 m3 and in 2003 about 50,000 m3 mainly consisting of reef materials comprising coral boulders, gravel, and coarse sand). This material was used to create the current port facility (reclaimed land) east of the harbor, and also some of the reclaimed land in the Punanga Nui Market area east of the port area (to create ramps up to the main road and parking areas in between the road and the wharves).

The IEE provides for an environmental management plan (EMP). The EMP has been refined during detailed design, and included in the contractors contracts for the Project. The contractors will be guided by the EMP in managing environmental impacts. A monitoring plan has been prepared to monitor key environmental aspects, and it will provide feedback to the EMP as necessary.

Involuntary Resettlement Limited impact - Single small business in leased building to be relocated to a similar position nearby. Resettlement impacts are limited and can be mitigated. They include (i) the relocation of goods from within a customs warehouse leased by Excil Shipping to another warehouse to be located nearby on-site, and (ii) the relocation of a small fish restaurant business presently carried out in leased premises on port land opposite the wharf. The restaurant will be reestablished in a similar location off-site. (This restaurant business closed operations even before the civil works started and any request was made to them to relocate).
Indigenous Peoples No Impact - There are no indigenous people within the zone of influence of the Project.
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design

Consultations were held with all identified stakeholders to determine their interests and concerns related to the Project. A land use policy workshop was used as a venue to describe the Project and solicit ideas, concerns, and issues from representatives of all stakeholders. As a result of the one-on-one consultations and the group meeting, no specific social or poverty-related issues were raised. Environmental issues were documented in the project initial

environmental examination.

During Project Implementation Civil work under the project started in March 2011. Regular stakeholder consultation and awareness is maintained including monitoring and evaluation reports of EMP implementation during construction.

Business Opportunities

Consulting Services International and national consulting services will be required to support Cook Islands Ports Authority in port engineering and contract management, financial management, and in construction supervision and environmental monitoring. Consultants will be selected in accordance with ADB's Guidelines on the Use of Consultants (2007, as amended from time to time). A total of 92 person-months of consulting services; 35 person-months international and 57 person-months national have been budgeted for these purposes. An international consulting firm will be recruited through quality- and cost-based selection for design and cost review, detailed design, construction contract supervision and environmental monitoring.
Procurement The procurement of civil/marine works will follow ADB's Procurement Guidelines (2007, as amended from time to time). The works, involving dredging and reconstruction of the quay on a new alignment, will be on contract package to be awarded through one-stage, one-envelope international competitive bidding with prequalification.

Responsible Staff

Responsible ADB Officer Paniagua, Maria P.
Responsible ADB Department Pacific Department
Responsible ADB Division Pacific Subregional Office in Suva, Fiji
Executing Agencies
Cook Islands Ports Authority (CIPA)
[email protected]
P.O. Box 84
cook Islands


Concept Clearance 15 Jul 2008
Fact Finding 24 Jun 2008 to 04 Jul 2008
MRM 20 Aug 2008
Approval 20 Nov 2008
Last Review Mission -
PDS Creation Date 30 Apr 2008
Last PDS Update 17 Apr 2014

Grant 0249-COO

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
24 Mar 2011 30 Dec 2011 22 May 2012 31 Dec 2012 - 05 Jul 2013
Financing Plan Grant Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 0.80 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 0.80 24 Mar 2011 0.80 0.00 100%
Counterpart 0.00 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 24 Mar 2011 0.80 0.00 100%
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating - Satisfactory - - - Satisfactory

Loan 2472-COO

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
20 Nov 2008 05 May 2009 10 Sep 2009 31 Dec 2012 31 Dec 2013 14 Apr 2014
Financing Plan Loan Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 11.31 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 8.63 20 Nov 2008 8.31 0.00 99%
Counterpart 2.68 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 20 Nov 2008 8.42 0.00 100%

Loan 2473-COO

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
20 Nov 2008 05 May 2009 10 Sep 2009 31 Dec 2012 31 Dec 2013 14 Apr 2014
Financing Plan Loan Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 6.88 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 6.88 20 Nov 2008 6.98 0.00 99%
Counterpart 0.00 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 20 Nov 2008 7.04 0.00 100%

Loan 2739-COO

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
24 Mar 2011 30 Dec 2011 22 May 2012 31 Dec 2012 31 Dec 2013 14 Apr 2014
Financing Plan Loan Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 5.64 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 4.70 24 Mar 2011 4.43 0.00 99%
Counterpart 0.94 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 24 Mar 2011 4.45 0.00 100%
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating - Satisfactory - - - Satisfactory

Safeguard Documents See also: Safeguards

Safeguard documents provided at the time of project/facility approval may also be found in the list of linked documents provided with the Report and Recommendation of the President.

Title Document Type Document Date
Avatiu Port Development Project Environmental and Social Monitoring Reports Jul 2013

Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

Title Document Type Document Date
Cook Islands: Avatiu Port Development Project Validations of Project Completion Reports Dec 2015

Related Publications

None currently available.

The Public Communications Policy (PCP) establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced in its operations to facilitate stakeholder participation in ADB's decision-making. For more information, refer to the Safeguard Policy Statement, Operations Manual F1, and Operations Manual L3.

Requests for information may also be directed to the InfoUnit.