Work has begun to upgrade and rehabilitate the Keru Wharf near New Georgia in Western Province, Solomon Islands.
The wharf is one of four wharves to be improved under the second phase of the Domestic Maritime Support Project which is financed by the Solomon Islands Government, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Australian Government, and the New Zealand Aid Programme.
The project is constructing rural wharves to improve safety and access to economic opportunities. The new wharves are designed to be less vulnerable to climate change and natural hazards.
The upgrading of Keru Wharf will involve: demolishing and clearing the existing timber wharf, and the installation of a larger, reinforced concrete wharf.
For the first time larger vessels will be able to dock safely at the upgraded wharf site, allowing more convenient and economical movement of passengers and cargo improving the quality of life in the New Georgia area.
The new wharf at Keru will boost connectivity between Western Province and the rest of Solomon Islands. It will give almost 2,100 people in the surrounding area, better access to health and education services. The upgraded wharf will also ensure better linkages to markets.
The Domestic Maritime Support Project has, during Phase I, already completed the rebuild of five wharves in five Solomon Islands provinces. It has also established a franchise shipping scheme to support remote communities. The improved shipping services and new wharves and jetties are reducing barriers to market access and are promoting the growth of rural production. The franchise shipping scheme is allowing private sector operators to deliver shipping services to commercially-unviable destinations.
The improved wharf is expected to improve passenger safety and reduce passenger fares. Lower cargo rates, shorter cargo handling times and less cargo damage are also expected.
The upgraded wharf is expected to be operational in June this year.
Source: Press Release, Asian Development Bank