SUNBIZ

Opportunities For Current Port Area To Be Turned Into Something Better: A-G

A dedicated area for a port in the Central Division can open up opportunities for development in the existing greater Port of Suva area. These were the sentiments by the
16 Oct 2016 11:00
Opportunities For Current Port Area To Be Turned Into Something Better: A-G
Attorney-General and acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at 2016 Top Executives (TOPEX) Conference at Sofitel in Denarau Island. Photo: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

A dedicated area for a port in the Central Division can open up opportunities for development in the existing greater Port of Suva area.

These were the sentiments by the Attorney-General and acting Prime Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, yesterday during a Q&A session at 2016 Top Executives (TOPEX) Conference.

TOPEX is a major annual event of the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation.

Government has not ruled out the option of having a dedicated area for a specialised port, participants heard.

This comes as works continue on the Suva Port Master plan by Fiji Ports Corporation (made up of foreign and local shareholders) and Asian Development Bank.

As part of the Fiji Ports divestment, one of the agreements was to come up with a masterplan in which ADB had volunteered to assist.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said with a specialised area, they can ensure there is a clear demarcation between a fishing boat, a cruise liner and the container ships that come in.

“At the moment we are doing it all in one place,” he said.

But, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said if one looks at the overall foreshore area in Suva, it consists of dilapidated buildings, shipping areas and a slipway not working to full capacity.

In comparison, he said, if you go to Sydney or Auckland, such locations would be where prime real estate is situated.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said: “So there is opportunity for further development there and that is something we are considering at the moment.”

 

What we lost and now

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum believes for Fiji, decades of neglect of our ports and not paying much attention to their development has become “one of those lost opportunities”.

“It required a vision. If we had the long term goal on that, Fiji today would be in a different space as far as shipping is concerned,” he said.

“But our goal is to play catch up, the goal is to set Fiji to be a transhipment hub.”

As a result of the neglect, today at least one third of the Port of Suva can only be used for cruise liners as it is not safe and cannot take much weight.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said: “This is because for decades, it was neglected and the foundation became weak.

“So we are developing a masterplan where you can have various synergies with other industries that are linked for example dry docks and good slipway as well as shipbuilding.”

 

Feedback:  rachnal@fijisun.com.fj



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