Dili, February 2nd, 2021 – His Excellency the Prime Minister, Taur Matan Ruak, welcomed, in the audience, this Tuesday, at the Government Palace, in Dili, the Director of Timor-Port, Rafael Ribeiro, accompanied by his Project Manager, Hugo Frossard. At the meeting, an update was made on the progress of construction of the Tibar Bay Port, and the challenges this project faces.
The head Tibar Port informed the Head of Government that the project reached 42% at the end of December 2020, and is currently in the phase of construction of pillars, wharf compaction, and yard work.
The director of Timor-Port promised to the Prime Minister that this year the construction company will make maximum effort to finish the work, based on the objectives already set, so that in April 2022, the port can start its activity. He also said that he hopes this port could become a mini-port of Singapore, making the interconnection of container transport from Australia, West Timor (NTT), eastern parts of Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific Islands.
In addition, the Director of Timor-Port presented the challenge faced by the company during the construction process, namely COVID-19, which caused the majority of foreign workers, mostly Chinese, to return to their countries and to date have not yet returned. Therefore, the person in charge of the project made a request to the Government of Timor-Leste, to authorize a special flight from Guanzhou-China directly to Dili, which can bring the 186 workers, so that the works can be completed quickly, according to the plan.
On his side, the Head of Government greatly appreciated the Port of Tibar construction’s progress and said that this mega project is very important in the development process of Timor-Leste in the future, especially with regard to container loading and unloading activity. Given the importance of this project, the Chief of the Executive promised the Director of Timor Port that he will try to make time to, together with the relevant Ministers, visit the works on the ground, and thus be able to obtain more detailed information on the complementary measures that the Government and the construction company need to take relating to the normal operation of the port, before the inauguration.
Regarding the request for permission to bring back the 186 Chinese workers, via a special flight from Guangzhou, directly to Dili, the Head of Government said this is important, so for his part, he has already authorized the Ministry of the Interior to look for the necessary mechanisms to facilitate the flight.
The launch ceremony of the construction of the Tibar Port was held by the Prime Minister, Taur Matan Ruak, accompanied by other State entities, on August 30th, 2018, and, based on the plans, the work should have been completed in August 2021, but, since the work was interrupted because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the new projection for completion and inauguration changed to April 2022.
This port will have a wharf 630 meters long and 15 meters wide, a container yard of 27 hectares, a storage capacity of 20,000 containers, and an annual capacity of up to one million containers. When completed, this port will be a “state-of-the-art” port, with modern equipment capable of ensuring fast and efficient movement in loading and unloading import and export containers. The new port has the capacity to receive larger ships than the current Dili Port and will ensure a lower operation cost. END/M-PMO