Samoa has taken one more key step to become the hub of internet communication in the Pacific region.
Having recently launched the Tui-Samoa Cable, the Samoa Submarine Cable Company and TE SubCom have started building a new submarine Cable Depot in Samoa to service the South Pacific Marine Maintenance Agreement.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the $5million project was held on Wednesday at Matautu.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi said the Cable Depot is a critical piece of the puzzle in Samoa’s efforts to become the submarine cable hub for the Pacific, especially with other regional submarine cables in the pipeline such as the Manatua cable linking Tahiti, Cook Islands, Niue and possibly Tonga to Samoa.
“This milestone is significant for Samoa, given the size and reputation of U.S. based TE SubCom who are a publicly listed, multi-billion US$ dollar company who are an industry pioneer in undersea communications technology,” Tuilaepa said.
“The successful negotiations with TE Subcom lasted over a year since they themselves were awarded the South Pacific Marine Maintenance Agreement which was previously located for twenty plus years in one of our Pacific island neighbors.”
“Today, TE Subcom have placed their faith in Samoa to construct a new cable depot in the Port of Apia, to service and maintain more than 20 cable systems measuring over 51,000 km of telecommunications and power cable systems in the Pacific region.”
“The partnership also signifies the success of Government policy to encourage foreign investors to Samoa by creating an enabling environment built on favorable economic conditions, strong government support and as well as Samoa’s political stability.”
Tuilaepa said there are many benefits for Samoa.
“The benefits of the depot to Samoa include and are not limited to; increased revenue for Samoa Ports Authority through port fees and charges in addition to a minimum of 150 berthing days per annum, the creation of jobs for Samoan staff at the depot; additional employment for stevedoring companies supporting the cable ships, deployment of a special submarine cable jointing school to train and certify Samoan and foreign engineers to undertake submarine cable repair and maintenance activities.”
“When the cable ships are berthed in harbor; economic stimulus to the local businesses by the 60 crew purchasing goods and services from shops in Apia and not to mention the significant impact on restaurants, bars, hotels and airlines as the crew are constantly rotated to and from Samoa.”
But with the benefits come a challenge for the Government in terms of infrastructure.
“The only downside to all this Port development is that in addition to the soon to be built Fish processing plant at the Samoa Port means that this port has now become congested perhaps signaling an appropriate time to rethink our Port strategic plan,” said Tuilaepa.
“It may now be appropriate for Samoa to consider its future plans to develop the Vaiusu Bay port for general cargo and cruise ships leaving the Matautu wharf exclusively for the submarine cable depot activity and the export fishing industry. I would respectfully seek our development partners support in helping Samoa in this important future endeavor.”