INTERNATIONAL TRADE : The economic powerhouse of French Polynesia
Not only is the port of Papeete the unique international port in French Polynesia trading with the whole world, but it is also the single domestic port serving islands of French Polynesia. Each year, 90% imported goods pass in transit by installations of the port, and thousands of tons leave the Inter-island Cabotage wharf.
The channel of the port of Papeete receives in port installations vessels up to 2,200 TEU. However, stakes of the international sea transport lead companies to practically double container ships’ size, increasing their load capacity to 4,000 TEU. Besides, within the framework of development projects of the 2000-2009 urban homesteading, strategic choices are made so as to receive at best these new transport modes in the port of Papeete. For example, a new container terminal was built in the reef zone, nearby the Taunoa channel, which is deeper than the Papeete channel.
Equipment and infrastructures
Port installations are made up of wharfs and pontoons over 3.000 m, of which one is a 453 m Cargo wharf having three berths for commercial vessels (cargo ships, container ships). Two berths of the Hydrocarbons wharf, the Fare Ute wharf and the Motu Uta wharf can receive oil tankers up to 45.000 tons. There is a berth for unloading butane gas. A container terminal of more than 140,000 m² surface area can stock bulk cargos and containers of international traffic between 20 and 40 feet.
Several private companies provide stevedoring and handling services on berths of the port. They have modern equipment with which they can quickly and efficiently unload and load cargos of vessels. Located at the entry of the Customs area of Motu Uta, a car storage building is available for vehicles unloaded: four levels for a capacity of 500 parking spaces. It liberates then the surface area of the floor for handling and storage of containers. A 3.700 m² platform, connected to the building, serves to the storage of heavy machines for a capacity of 130 parking spaces. Finally, the port zone integrates in a dynamical industrial and commercial complex in which numerous companies of principal sectors of activity of Polynesian economy are present.