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Port Louis
Tuesday, July 16, 2024

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The GM Will Continue To Invest Massively In The Port Infrastructure Says PM

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The Private Notice Question on Tuesday focused on this World Bank ranking. After a long introductory response, the Prime Minister indicated that he was not questioning the World Bank report. He added that it was the organisation itself that had warned that certain criteria had not been considered. This is because, as he insisted, the ranking only considers the time spent in the port and not the many ancillary activities that are carried out. In support of his point of view, Pravind Jugnauth pointed out that some ports in the United States and Canada are ranked lower than Port Louis. “The Report further draws attention to the fact that the Container Port Performance Index is based on available empirical objective data pertaining exclusively to time expended in a vessel’s stay in a port and should be interpreted as an indicative but not a definitive measure of container port performance,” said the Prime Minister.

He added that the World Bank Report itself draws attention to the fact that although the Automatic Identification System is generally reliable, it also has limitations that can impact the transmission and quality of the data captured. “Some factors that may affect the signal could be the Automatic Identification System transponder being turned off deliberately, problematic reception, high traffic density areas, weather conditions, or anomalous positions,” he added.

It should be noted that the ranking of Port Louis Harbour for the three editions is as follows: 344 out of 351 ports in 2020, 323 out of 370 ports in 2021 and 327 out of 348 ports in 2022. Pravind Jugnauth added that the average total time spent in port per vessel in 2022 stood at around 44.4 hours, whereas the average time spent at berth by vessel for cargo handling operations was 33.5 hours, and pre-berthing delays amounted to 1.8 hours. The remaining 7.10 hours in port are spent on all non-container handling operations, such as bunkering, removal of garbage, sludge, or waiting for containers to arrive on mother vessels within the port limits.

He explained that the government is determined to make Port Louis a hub in the region. To achieve that position, an amount of Rs 8.4 billion has been invested in port projects since 2015, as compared to Rs 2 billion for the period 2005-2014. He added that the Mauritius Ports Authority is also implementing several projects to further improve efficiency and port performance. To that effect, a digitalized Vessel Clearing System at a cost of Rs 7.5 million is being implemented to facilitate the entry of vessels at Port Louis. The system is expected to go live in July 2023.

The government is fully alive to the fact that our port, which is our only maritime gateway, is a vital component of our national transport network and supply chains and acts as a catalyst for economic development. The government will therefore continue to invest massively in the modernization and expansion of the port infrastructure and port operations with a view to further improving port productivity indicators and transforming the Port Louis Harbour into a major transport logistics and maritime hub connecting Europe, Africa, and Asia, as highlighted in the Government Programme 2020-2024,” he said.

Xavier-Luc Duval insisted that despite billions of rupees invested, the productivity and efficiency of the Mauritian port continued to deteriorate. He also accused the government of failing to implement any of the recommendations contained in a report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers on efficiency at the port. A study, said the opposition leader, that the government itself had commissioned. The Prime Minister replied that several of the recommendations in the Pricewaterhouse Coopers report had already been implemented.

Xavier-Luc Duval also asked the Prime Minister to reveal the qualifications of the current Managing Director of the Cargo Handling Corporation, Paul Éric Presley. Pravind Jugnauth has indicated that he has no problem doing so.

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