Minister of Economic Development Mr. Fayyaz Ismail affirms the state's plan on commencing the development of a transshipment harbor, sometime during 2022.
According to the minister, land reclamation required for the harbor development will be initiated during the year though the actual date has not been disclosed yet.
The minister made the confirmation while speaking at the Economic Committee of Maldives Parliament.
The Maldives government has identified the island of Ihavandhippolhu for the project - the island is geographically the northern-most slip in the archipelago.
Earlier, the ministry had sought interested parties to enter a public-private partnership to carry out the project.
While speaking about the project, the minister highlighted the lack of interested investors owing to low internal returns.
Moreover, the minister further confirmed that the government had discussions with local port operators which however ended to no avail.
According to Mr. Fayyaz, most of the investors sought projects that guaranteed faster returns on their investments.
Following unsuccessful attempts at vying interested investors, the government has diverted its focus towards developing the commercial harbor using the financial backing of the state as well as state-owned enterprises.
Moreover, the minister claimed that the project scope includes the development of a 900 meters quay wall, while the transshipment harbor will be developed with state-of-the-art equipment.
Additionally, minister Fayyaz claimed that the harbor will be able to accommodate some of the largest container carriers operating across the globe, while the entire site will have the capacity of handling 1.8 million containers in annual terms.
The transshipment harbor will be one of the costliest projects in the island nation, with an estimated budget of USD466 million.