SUNBIZ

$8.2M Lautoka Port Investment To Boost Trade

The $8.2Million investment in the new container yard in Lautoka is expected to significantly boost Fiji’s ability and ambition to trade and be the transshipment hub in the Pacific. These
23 Feb 2021 10:26
$8.2M Lautoka Port Investment To Boost Trade
The Economic and Commercial Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy, Li Zhi (back row, fifth from left) pictured next to the Fiji Ports Corporation Limited chairperson Shaheen Ali and Fiji Ports China Railway First Group Limited staff after the ground breaking ceremony at the Port of Lautoka on February 22, 2021. Photo: Nicolette Chambers

The $8.2Million investment in the new container yard in Lautoka is expected to significantly boost Fiji’s ability and ambition to trade and be the transshipment hub in the Pacific.

These were the comments made by the Permanent Secretary for the Fiji Ports Corporation Limited chairperson, Shaheen Ali while officiating at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Lautoka Yard 3 Development Project at the Port of Lautoka yesterday.

Mr Ali said the new container yard was able to store up to approximately 1,260 containers and the Lautoka Port’s capacity was approximately 40,000.

The project is likely to open in the next eight months and is being built by China Railway First Group Limited.

Mr Ali said with Fiji being a maritime economy, the country was heavily reliant on the ports infrastructure for the transportation of goods and services to all Fijians. This included providing passenger services to the maritime islands.

“Small Island Developing States are already burdened by disproportionately higher transport costs and lower connectivity making trade more challenging for us. This is where our ports play a crucial role.”

“We need to invest in increasing cargo volumes, cleaner and greener services and digital transformation in order to keep our supply chains and maritime trade open and thriving. Our economic recovery relies on this.”

“The on-going contraction of production and consumption due to the pandemic, has led to reduction in maritime trade, causing disruption in shipping demand and port traffic.”

He said this was in relation to the reduction of Fiji’s re-exports last year by 38 per cent and reduced imports by 34 per cent compared to the same period in 2019.

“The silver lining is, our balance of trade deficit has improved by 44 per cent,” he said.

He added the new development would also help Fiji meet the health and biosecurity standards of trading partners like Australia and New Zealand.

The Economic and Commercial Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy, Li Zhi said the participation of Chinese companies in Fiji’s national modernisation drive would promote the development of the bilateral trade.

“Chinese companies are true friends of the Fijian people,” said Ms Li.

“As an old Chinese saying ‘distance tests a horse’s power, time tests a man’s heart’, facts have proved that the Chinese Government and Chinese companies cherish the traditional friendly relations between China and Fiji.”

She said China stood ready to work with Fiji for the benefit of all people.

The project manager, Akila Abeyrathne said the new development would provide multiple benefits to the port and all Fijians.

 

Feedback: nicolette.chambers@fijisun.com.fj



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