BY JARED KOLI
The Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) has begun preparatory work on building a new multimillion-dollar ultramodern three-storey seaport terminal.
The state-owned enterprise yesterday unveiled the concept design of the new seaport terminal designed by local architectural firm, Raoto’o Architectural Services.
SIPA Chief Executive Officer Eranda Kotelawala told Island Sun in an interview that the project costs around $30 to $35 million and is fully funded by Solomon Ports. He said when complete, it will improve the standard of Honiara domestic port, and will be one of the model domestic seaport terminal in the Pacific region.
He said the warehouse at the Ports ground, next to Solomon Islands Maritime Authority office will be demolished to make way for the new seaport terminal. Ports will provide a temporary complex for the current tenants of the warehouse.
“One thing that has been missing over the last 50 years was the absence of a proper domestic terminal or at least a shelter for the passengers, and also to provide more facilities for the ship owners/operators.
“So, the new concept is actually a hallmark of the surpassed development plan for the Solomon Ports, especially for Honiara Domestic terminal for passengers,” Mr Kotelawala said.
He said the new building will provide a number of facilities.
“The first floor will have cafes, shops and convenient rooms for male and female.
“The second floor will house a public viewing gallery, some cafes, and ticketing offices for ship operators to make more convenient and easier for passengers. This will also help ship operators to get better revenue because its more formalised.
“The third floor will have multiple offices, so anybody who want office space can have it there,” the Solomon Ports CEO said.
He said the tenants residing in the current warehouse at the project site will also be accommodated in the new complex.
“We support local communities by engaging local contractors and local designers. This is our contribution to the country and the public by this prominent SOEs in the country.
“We will be starting the ground work soon, hopefully after this unveiling we will start setting up the foundations and work should proceed.”
He said they hope to commission the new terminal in nine to 10 months’ time.
“Once the foundation is set, it will take six to eight months to complete. Now all the design is done, structural drawing is done, we will start the work very soon,” he said.