$8.2m wharf upgrade

Once completed, an $8.2 million upgrade of the Lautoka Wharf Yard 3 facility will allow it to store an additional 1260 containers.

This was the word from Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport permanent secretary Shaheen Ali at the groundbreaking ceremony at the Lautoka Wharf yesterday.

“Lautoka Port capacity is approximately 40,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit),” he said.

“This will, therefore, significantly boost our ability and ambition to trade and be the transshipment hub in the Pacific.”

Mr Ali said although maritime trade had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ocean remained a key trade and economic pathway between Fiji and the world.

“This is where Fiji Ports Corporation Ltd has an enormous responsibility to achieving the goals set in our 5-year strategic plan.

“Key to this is investing in sustainable infrastructure development to set the foundation for Fiji to be a smart green gateway for trade in the Pacific.”

Mr Ali said the Yard 3 upgrade would result in the elevation of the container storage facility floor so operations would not be affected during high tide and heavy rain.

“This development will also help us meet health and biosecurity standards of our trading partners such as Australia and New Zealand.”

Mr Ali said the project contractor, China First Railway Group, was expected to complete the project in the next eight months.

In response to a query from The Fiji Times, Mr Ali said the project was funded by Fiji Ports Corporation Ltd.