China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC) sub-contracts Fletcher Construction Ltd to build the new deepwater cruise ship dock on the old Vuna Wharf site, opposite the Central Business District in downtown Nuku'alofa. This development funded and coordinated by the Nuku'alofa Development Corporation and envisages a wharf, and wharf support capable of docking major cruise ships up to 130,000 tons. The funding originates from Exim Bank of China via a soft loan made to the Government of Tonga. China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation, the Head Contractors have agreed to sub-contract the works to Fletcher Construction Ltd.
Fletcher Construction has been involved in the project since conception. Working with BECA Engineering of New Zealand they have already contributed much of the planning and engineering data that has allowed the project to reach this stage.
Environmental impact assessments have been made for the Department of the Environment by a local company to ensure that no adverse environmental impacts will occur to adjacent coastlines as a result of the construction of this facility.
Fletcher Construction Ltd., is part of the Fletcher Group, a New Zealand based, worldwide conglomerate, and has successfully completed major reconstruction projects in many other countries besides New Zealand. Fletcher's arrived in Tonga in 1992, when it placed the concrete for the runway at Fua'amotu International Airport, since then the company has built the Reserve Bank building, both sports stadiums and the Tonga Development Bank building, among many other projects. The company can claim a team of highly skilled staff, administrators and workmen. The company is a recognized ‘heavyweight' within the construction industry.
Interest in the development has already expressed by Carnival Australia who control the operation of P&O Cruise Lines of the United States among several other cruise ship operators. P & O proposes to terminal a 65,000 ton ship in New Zealand to service the cruise ship market of the South Pacific and Nuku'alofa is a logical stopping point. This ship alone has the possibility of landing 2,000 tourists at a time.
The economic and employment opportunities that will inevitably occur within Tongatapu will be enormous. The market will provide an outlet to display and sell Tongan handicrafts and goods and substantial service staff will be employed by other onshore facilities.
Tourism Tonga is developing a plan to provide a ‘living village' scenario. The plan is to display a typically cultural and living experience for visiting tourists.
Issued by the: Nuku'alofa Development Corporation, Nuku'alofa. Media Release Serial Number: 06/02.