Australia’s flagship Solomon Islands Infrastructure Program (SIIP) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) in May to support the upgrade of the country’s second largest port in Noro, Western Province.
SIIP will deliver a detailed design to increase the capacity and efficiency of Noro Port which processes both domestic and international shipping, including passenger, freight and fishing fleets.
SIPA CEO Eranda Kotelawala said the current SIPA wharf in Noro could not accommodate larger vessels nor increased shipping demands.
“The new design, to be overseen by SIPA and implemented by SIIP, will ensure Noro can meet the future shipping needs of Solomon Islands for many years to come.”
“A good quality design will help us take Noro Port to the next level.”
The SBD8.5 million (AUD1.48 million) project was approved by SIIP’s joint Australia-Solomon Islands Steering Committee in March 2022, with the design expected to be completed by July 2023.
SIIP co-Chair, Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr Jimmie Rodgers, said “Ultimately, this project addresses Solomon Islands’ connectivity and long-term prosperity and is the first step toward the government’s comprehensive national transport core initiative”.
“Increasing port capacity and speeding up both passenger and freight processing times will increase our ability to export tuna to lucrative international markets, among other things, and help to unlock our sustainable natural resources for the benefit of all Solomon Islanders.”
The detailed designs will be a critical step for SIPA in attracting the international investment required to finance such a major port upgrade.
Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, and SIIP co-Chair, Dr Lachlan Strahan said through SIIP, Australia was supporting immediate national priorities and long-term, inclusive national development.
“SIIP is focused on helping Solomon Islands harness the economic potential of both its human and natural resources to build a stronger economy,” Dr Strahan said.
“Island nations, like Australia and Solomon Islands, need efficient and effective ports to connect people and goods, locally and to international markets.”
Funded by Australia, SIIP is a ten-year SBD1.5 billion partnership between Australia and Solomon Islands to plan, deliver and manage economic infrastructure to increase economic growth. SIIP is working with national and provincial governments, and industry.