Seychelles’ port extension plans get boost from Abu Dhabi delegation
After a delay of over five years, work to extend Seychelles’ main port, Port Victoria, is expected to start this year.
The announcement on Monday came as a high-level delegation from the Abu Dhabi port is in the country to provide technical advice for the expansion of Port Victoria and construction of other projects related to fishing ports.
Local authorities met with the delegation on Monday to discuss the different phases and proposed design of the project. The delegation was also given a tour of the port. The minister of transport, Anthony Derjacques, told the press after the meeting that the delegation’s visit to the island nation follows the state visit of Seychelles’ President Wavel Ramkalawan to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last month.
According to Derjacques, during his visit the president asked to get a team of technical advisors to Seychelles – 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean – to provide advice for the expansion of the Mahe quay and construction of new fishing ports. “Specifically, the delegation will be looking at our commercial activities, communication system, and to help us kick-start some new projects,” said Derjaques.
Port Victoria, which is currently 270 metres long, will be extended by an additional 330 metres to accommodate two boats measuring up to 250 metres in length at the same time. Space will be also be made for the installation of two mobile cranes for loading and unloading of ships, storage yards and warehouses.
For the extension project, the Seychelles Ports Authority has received $41 million — $35 million from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB). The European Union (EU) has also provided a grant of around $6 million.
The project was expected to be completed by 2021, but due to financial constraints and the COVID-19 pandemic, the groundwork has not been able to start.
Derjacques said that that their advice would be crucial as there are already some controversial points and several ideas on how the quay could be extended. In March 2019, the Project Planning and Management company based in Sofia, Bulgaria won the tender for the design phase.
The minister said that these advisors are not stepping on any previous work done, but will add on to “our information bank, which will be passed on to those responsible to implement the project.”