Aiwo — Nauru has begun the construction of its first international port, a $79.59 million project that is anticipated to generate jobs, strengthen the country’s regional connection and pave the way for its economic recovery.
“We waited for more than a century to change our dream of having an international port into reality,” Nauru President Baron Divavesi Waqa said at Jan. 30 groundbreaking ceremony in Aiwo.
The Nauru Sustainable and Climate Resilient Connectivity Project is financed by Asian Development Bank, Green Climate Fund, and the governments of Australia and Nauru.
The project involves the transformation of Nauru’s over a century-old and largely unworkable boat harbor into an efficient, reliable, and climate-resilient port. ADB is providing a $21.3 million grant for the project, which is expected to boost port operations significantly.
“We are delighted to partner with ADB, the Green Climate Fund (GCF), and the Government of Australia in this initiative, and this event is symbolic of our long-term development partnership,” Waqa said at the groundbreaking that marked first step toward the project construction.
“The beginning of the construction phase puts Nauru on a path toward economic recovery as the new port will increase export and trade opportunities,” said Carmela Locsin, ADB director general for the Pacific. “We are pleased to help the government realize their dream of a new port through this transformational project.”
The new, climate-proofed Nauru Port will allow large vessels to berth with the construction of a wharf featuring a berth pocket and breakwater. Port security will be established to ensure compliance with international best practices, while a container storage area will be built.
“The redevelopment of the port will be transformative for Nauru,” said Anne Ruston, Australia’s assistant minister for International Development and the Pacific. Ruston said the project will create jobs and spur economic growth through increased trade and investment that will beef up Nauru’s connectivity to the region. “Australia is proud to be involved in this important project and looks forward to working with the government of Nauru and other development partners to explore future opportunities that will arise from the development of this much-needed, world-class seaport,” she added.
The project will introduce institutional reforms within the port authority and support the management of the port, ensuring financially sustainable port operations and maintenance.Jerry Velasquez, director for GCF’s Mitigation and Adaptation Division, said the construction of the new port provided a timely chance to introduce and develop climate resilience features to the infrastructure.
“GCF’s contribution ensures the rehabilitated port will be resilient to climate-related disasters such as strong waves, storms, and cyclones, and continues serving low-carbon maritime transport connections to the region and the world,” Velasquez said. “This is essential for a small island developing state like Nauru, which relies on secure coastal mooring for imported food and other essentials.”
The project’s next milestone will be a port dedication ceremony in March 2019.