Tibar Port in Timor-Leste is half-finished, with the grand opening expected in May 2022.
The new port is expected to handle 350,000 containers a year, replacing the existing facilities in Dili and ending an economic bottleneck.
According to the Timorese Ministry of Finance, US$64.7 million has been paid out to Timor Port, the project's concessionaire company, CLBrief reported.
"The payment represents the progress of construction of the port of Tibar bay, which has reached 50 per cent, and is expected to start the operation in May 2022," a ministry spokesman said.
When operational, the spokesman said, "the port will be a modern structure that will facilitate the movement of imports and exports, reduce delays and transaction costs, helping to facilitate commercial activity."
Construction started in August 2019 and is being operated as a public-private partnership.
China Harbour Engineering, subcontracted by Timor Port for the construction, has paid out US$20.4 million to 60 supplier companies, of which 39 are local and 21 international. These contracts made it possible to hire a total of 375 Timorese workers, the ministry added.
French logistics group Bollore hired the Chinese company for the construction. Overall, more than 1,134 workers have participated in the construction so far, of which 691 were Timorese.
The cost of the first phase of the project, construction, equipment and operation of the port, is estimated at US$278.3 million dollars, with the Timorese government financing US$129.45 million and the private partner the remaining US$148.85 million.