Ports Structures In Fiji A Concern

  Port structures around Fiji are now a concern. This was the view of  Hiroshi Kato, the advisor to Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Transport. “Repairing and maintenance of the
14 Dec 2016 11:00
Ports Structures In Fiji A Concern
Port visitation by workshop participants. Photos: Lusiana Tuimaisala


Port structures around Fiji are now a concern. This was the view of  Hiroshi Kato, the advisor to Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Transport.

“Repairing and maintenance of the damaged facilities should be done as soon as possible,” Mr Kato said.

Mr Kato was part of  the three day workshop on International Maritime Terminal Development and Maintenance in Island nations in Suva last week.

The three days workshop was organised by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport.

The Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) Fiji office and Tokyo Headquarters also supported Mr Kato by providing co-ordination and financial assistance.

As part of the workshop, they visited the Port of Suva, Port Mua-i-walu and the Government Jetty at Walu Bay.

Mr Kato said they were able to confirm the states of both pile foundations and beams of the cargo handling stage of the wharf.

“We observed that some of the precast concrete plates are damaged during cargo handling operations,” Mr Kato said.

Some of the piles, concrete pieces he said had dropped off into the sea and steel bars were exposed into the air.

He said port structures could be damaged by cargo handling operations and marine concrete structures were affected and deteriorated year by year.

The monitoring and maintenance he said were necessary to minimise the loss of the asset value and to extend the life span of the marine structures.

Mr Kato visited various islands including Pacific nations from May to July, 2016.

His trip to the Lau Group was pleasant because he was able to experience their unique and mixed cultures on the islands.

On the other hand, he said it was a sad trip because he understood that most of the island jetties had been heavily deteriorated, some of them were even risky.

He said very minimal attension had been paid to the existing situation of the island jetties.

Consequently, he said most of the people on these islands were not able to reach stable and safe maritime transportation mode.

Fiji Ports Corporation Limited (FPCL) chief operating officer, Eranda Kotelawala said the port visit last week was timely as they had the teams from MoIT and JICA with other stakeholders relevant for constructive deliberations on the matter.

Mr Kotelawala said they observed that the infrastructure required major repairs and critical maintenance.

He added that it was time for major repairs to be carried out to extend the lifespan of the wharf structures and effectively utilise the facilities.

Mr Kato is a JICA expert, and has been working for the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport since March this year as an advisor to the Permanent Secretary for Infrastructure Development and Maintenance.

Before coming to Fiji, he has been working for the Ministry of Transport for the Japanese government for more than 30 years as a civil engineer.  His expertise in the Ministry was Port Planning.

Mr Kato studied Regional Planning at Graduate School in USA and Tourism Studies at Graduate School in Japan.

He has visited various islands including the Pacific from  May to  July, 2016.

Mr Kato had also visited all the jetties in the Lau Group.

He said, when looking at the islands from an economic point of view, different figures could be seen.

These islands he said could be considered as a frontier of Fiji.

Mr Kato believes that a huge potential exists in these eastern islands.

He says it’s important for us to pay more attention to remote islands, and discover future way of life on these islands.

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