Fiji Ports – Sustainable Dredging Practices at the Port of Lautoka (Queens Wharf)

Fiji Ports, a leading international port operator, manages operations at three international ports in Fiji, Suva, Lautoka, and Levuka. The company prioritizes sustainability in its core functions, including ensuring safe navigation, facilitating efficient berthing and unberthing of international vessels, and managing port infrastructure sustainably.

Over the past eight years, Fiji Ports has observed an increase in vessels at Lautoka Queens Wharf, handling 40% of Fiji’s export and import volume. Operational limitations, such as sediment accumulation in navigational channels and berthing pockets, and restrictions on vessel movements, have led to occasional congestion and insufficient berthing availability. This has led to concerns from shipping agents about the adequacy of water depths, necessitating a sustainable dredging project at Lautoka Queens Wharf.

Fiji Ports integrates robust environmental management practices into its dredging operations to ensure minimal environmental impact and compliance with regulatory standards. The Environment Management Plan (EMP) for dredging encompasses several key components aimed at safeguarding marine ecosystems and promoting sustainable port activities.

Fiji Ports has implemented a comprehensive, sustainability-focused pre-dredging strategy prioritizing environmental stewardship throughout all project phases. Key preparatory measures include: completing a bathymetric survey; selecting qualified contractors; obtaining work permits and approvals following stringent compliance processes such as conducting a thorough Environmental Impact Assessment by designated government authorities; and the development of a robust environmental management plan for responsible handling of dredged materials.

Fiji Ports’ Environment Management Plan for dredging is a testament to its commitment to environmental stewardship. By adopting comprehensive management strategies, Fiji Ports aims to mitigate the environmental impacts of dredging activities while promoting sustainable development and operational excellence. This approach not only benefits the marine environment but also supports the broader goals of community well-being and economic sustainability.