The Kingdom of Tonga is an archipelago comprising 169 islands in the South Pacific. With its growing private sector, agricultural industries and developing tourism, Tonga is preparing itself for a prosperous future of trade and commerce.

A hub in need of reinvention

The gateway to the Kingdom is the Queen Salote International Wharf (QSIW), Tonga’s largest port. It handles 85 per cent of all cargo coming into Tonga, as well as the vast majority of its international sea trade; all while acting as a hub for inter-island trade.

With domestic ferry operations recently relocated away from QSIW, the opportunity arose to re-evaluate and optimise the port to prepare it for growth, not just in the country’s trade, but also in container numbers and vessel sizes over the next 20 years.
The port had begun to show signs of falling behind, with degrading infrastructure, poor lighting and not enough accommodation for longer/bigger ships. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is working with the Government of Tonga to upgrade and modernize the QSIW, and Royal HaskoningDHV have been brought onboard to provide the feasibility study and detailed engineering design.

Increasing the port resilience to climate change and natural disasters

The first part of Royal HaskoningDHV’s work on this project has been to carry out a detailed climate change and disaster assessment. 

Natural hazards pose a significant threat to development projects in Tonga and to the achievement of the development goals for the nation and region. Today, in terms of the consequences of climate change, Tonga is listed by the UN as the 2nd worst-affected nation.

For nations exposed to the changes and variability of our climate, detailed and thorough analysis – to provide insights and solutions on developing to protect or mitigate against the impacts of climate change – is essential.
Due to its location, the Queen Salote International Wharf is exposed to several elements – from rising sea levels and extreme rainfall, to tropical cyclones, earthquakes, and tsunamis. In the assessments carried out by Royal HaskoningDHV and provided to the Government of Tonga and the ADB, we have supported in the design of a project that will improve the efficiency, capacity and security of the current facility for decades to come.

A smart, sustainable port of the future

The project will result in an upgrade of the Queen Salote International Wharf through several measures and improvements. One of the wharfs will be extended to accommodate larger vessels and more containers while another will be reconstructed and improved. New dolphins and yard improvements will improve facilities, organisation and lighting.

In addition to this, smart and green port features will be introduced to create a smart and sustainable port of the future for Tonga.