- There are plans to extend the commercial port in Victoria as an interim measure pending the proposed construction of a new port on reclaimed land, the Seychellois government announces. The planned new port is now called "a long term plan," which may take a long time to implement, but also the port extension still lacks financing.
The change of plans was yesterday announced by the Seychellois Minister for Tourism and Transport, Joseph Belmont. Visiting the port, he explained that the planned extended port would be able to accommodate at least one more vessel, easing congestion and so reducing the waiting time for ships before they are offloaded.
The commercial port in Victoria on Mahe Island can at the moment take three or four vessels depending on their size. Any additional vessels are forced to wait for one or two days according to the director general for port and marine services, Captain Wilton Ernesta. This presents a capacity problem for Seychelles, which totally depends on its port for trade and the growing fisheries industry.
- The plan to build a new port on reclaimed land towards the north is still there but it is a long term plan which will take us time to be able to implement, Minister Belmont stated. "For the immediate future we are going to extend the existing port, quay by quay, towards the south so that we can accommodate more vessels," he explained, according to a government communiqué.
Mr Belmont added that his Ministry had also seen the need for the Mahe fishing port to be repaired. The port authority is already looking into some possibilities of installing some buoys where transhipment of fish can take place, the Minister informed.
The new plans for the commercial port and the fishing port are however not finalised yet, Minister Belmont revealed. He said that the approximate cost of the proposed extension was still being worked out.
According to the Seychellois government, the lack of foreign exchange is a problem regarding infrastructure projects. Lack of financing is also the reason behind the postponement of the new commercial port.
The concept of a new port was presented by the Seychellois government five years ago. The Transport Ministry then presented plans to reclaim nearly 300 hectares of land in the Victoria harbour area. This new land was to be allocated to industrial zones, a new commercial port and an international oil terminal, as part of a larger government plan to turn Seychelles into an international business centre.
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