Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $45m grant for the rehabilitation and development of the Queen Salote International Wharf (QSIW) in Nuku’alofa Port, Tonga.

The grant is sourced from ADB’s Asian Development Fund.

Nuku’alofa Port Upgrade Project will renew, rehabilitate and expand the port’s infrastructure, as well as strengthen its operations and management.

An estimated 98% of imports reach via sea to Tonga, an archipelago of over 170 islands,.

ADB Pacific transport specialist Juan Gonzalez said: “The Nuku’alofa Port is the country’s main international port and a lifeline for the people of Tonga. The project will also benefit other Pacific countries in the region with shipping partnerships with Tonga, such as the Cook Islands and Samoa.”

ADB’s upgrade to the Port of Apia in Samoa is being used as the blueprint for the Nuku’alofa Port Upgrade Project.

Improving ports in the Pacific with smart infrastructure and methods will reduce costs, eliminate inefficiencies and protect against climate change and natural disasters, ADB stated.

Designed with green and smart modules, the project will also include gender aspects to encourage female participation in port operations.

As of now, ADB provided support to Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Samoa, and Vanuatu in the Pacific for the development of their maritime transportation.

Established in 1966, ADB is owned by 68 members, 49 from the Pacific region.