The FINANCIAL — The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors has approved a $21.3 million grant to help upgrade the Aiwo boat harbor in Nauru, which will make it the country’s first fully functioning international port.
The Nauru Sustainable and Climate Resilient Connectivity Project will transform the largely inoperable boat harbor into an efficient, reliable, and climate-resilient port which will improve the quality of life of all the people in Nauru, according to ADB.
Apart from ADB, the Green Climate Fund ($26.91 million), the Government of Australia ($14.08 million), and the Government of Nauru ($17.3 million) will contribute financing to the $79.59 million project, which will enhance port operations in Nauru through structural improvements and strengthened capacity of the Port Authority of Nauru.
“The people of Nauru as well as local businesses will benefit greatly from this upgrade. Nauru has been relying on the small boat harbor at Aiwo for about 110 years and the time has come to upgrade its port infrastructure and operations through the Port Development Project, thanks to the joint efforts of ADB and the Government of Australia, as well as the Green Climate Fund for their funding contributions,” said Anton Jimwereiy, CEO of the Port Authority of Nauru. “The use of the new port will eliminate the recurrent cost of replacing the mooring system every 5 years, reduce other port operational costs, improve the efficiency and safety of employees, shorten the number of days that a ship has to be in port to discharge cargo, and reduce the cost of imported goods through reduction in sea freight costs.”
“The Nauru Port Project demonstrates how a pooling of international resources can help preserve the sea links that are so vital for the economic prospects of vulnerable populations living in the Pacific,” said Howard Bamsey, Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund. “Our partnerships with the governments of Nauru and Australia, as well as with ADB, serve as an example of how cooperation on climate action can assist Small Island Developing States in all regions.”
“Aiwo boat harbor is Nauru’s main gateway for imports and exports and, for years, the people of Nauru have struggled with Aiwo’s inefficient and sometimes dangerous operations,” said Emma Fan, Regional Director of ADB’s Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office in Sydney. “The new climate-proofed port planned for this site will better connect Nauru to the rest of the world.”
“The new port will create jobs and economic growth through increased trade and investment in Nauru,” said Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop. “This is one of a number of important infrastructure projects that Australia is supporting in Nauru and is part of Australia’s efforts to promote prosperity and resilience across the Pacific.”
The improved port will include a wharf, a berth pocket, and a breakwater at Aiwo. The project will also reconstruct port buildings, a container storage area, and port security facilities complying to international maritime standards. The project will support institutional reforms to strengthen the Port Authority of Nauru and achieve sound and efficient port governance and management, while establishing a revolving fund to ensure financially sustainable port operations and maintenance.
Nauru is one of the world’s smallest countries with a population of about 13,000 people and is highly dependent on maritime transport for its habitability. Nauru will greatly benefit from the upgraded port infrastructure, allowing for more cost-effective and timely delivery of essential supplies while providing opportunity for alternative sources of domestic revenue and growth.