THE TIMOR-LESTE government has inaugurated the new Tibar Bay deepwater port.

The new port was built to ease congestion at nearby Port of Dili, the only international port in Timor-Leste until recently.

Maiden calls from two vessels in September this year marked the beginning of operations at the new port, but it was officially inaugurated on 30 November.

José Ramos Horta, president of Timor-Leste, inaugurated the port in the presence of prime minister Taur Matan Ruak, Bolloré Ports CEO Philippe Labonne and members of the Dili port community.

Mr Labonne said Tibar Bay is Bolloré Ports’ largest project to date in Timor-Leste.

“We are honoured by the trust the Timorese government placed in us and we have done our utmost to be worthy of it,” Mr Labonne said.

“We have been present in the country for many years and are proud of this new contribution to the local economy.

“Together, we will develop the activities of Tibar Bay Port with the ambition of positioning it as a reference infrastructure in the Asia Pacific region.”

The intent is for the port to become a regional transhipment hub to enhance Timor-Leste’s position in the Asia-Pacific region and accelerate the country’s economic development.

Tibar Bay port was built over four years and has received a 30-year investment of US$490 million.

Bolloré Ports said the port features a 630-metre-long quay with 16 metres of draught, and handling equipment including two STS gantries and four e-RTG gantries.

The port is expected to handle more than 200,000 TEU per year.

According to Bolloré, the commissioning of Tibar Bay port supports a local development strategy through job creation, employee training and an action plan to preserve the surrounding biodiversity.

The new infrastructure has also achieved Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies.