East Timor unveils major French port investment
Published on: Friday, December 02, 2022
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East Timor unveils major French port investment
East Timor’s President Jose Ramos Horta (C) gestures during an inauguration ceremony of Tibar Bay port, operated by French company Bollore in Liquica.
DILI: East Timor has inaugurated a new deepwater port operated by a French conglomerate, in the largest ever single foreign investment on an infrastructure project in Southeast Asia’s youngest country.

The $490 million port at Tibar Bay near the capital Dili is expected to expand trade for East Timor, one of the poorest countries in the region.

“It was necessary for East Timor to be connected to the main shipping lines in Asia,” French transport giant Bollore’s director of ports Olivier de Noray told AFP.

The port will be able to receive ships of more than 8,000 containers, he said, and vessels sailing from Singapore through the Indonesian archipelago to Australia will be able to call there.

East Timor, which gained independence from Indonesian occupation in 2002, already has a port in Dili but it is not deep enough to accommodate large container ships.

The new project, which took four years to complete, is being operated under a 30-year public-private partnership agreement.

East Timor will contribute $135 million and Bollore $155 million for the initial phase of the project, according to the local government.

The port started operations in September and was inaugurated at a ceremony this week.

It will become the largest private employer in the country with more than 300 jobs, according to Bollore.

Its construction in a bay bordered by mangroves with a partially damaged coral reef and sea turtles has raised concerns about risks to the environment. 

Bollore said it is working with a local NGO on environmental protection projects.

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