• 2018 IJ Global Asia Pacific PPP Deal of the Year: Tibar Bay Port in Timor-Leste

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2018 IJ Global Asia Pacific PPP Deal of the Year: Tibar Bay Port in Timor-Leste

Tibar Bay Port project has won the “2018 IJ Global Asia Pacific PPP Deal of the Year” award, a global award for the best Public Private Partnership (PPP) project in the Asia Pacific region for 2018. The award was given by IJ Global, a world leading organization focused on infrastructure and project finance and the award was announced on 28 March 2019 in Singapore.

Tibar Bay project was considered against other PPP projects in developing and developed economies throughout the region and judged to be the most outstanding PPP project for 2018 in the Asia Pacific region.

Such international recognition for the very first PPP implemented in Timor-Leste is a great achievement for the Timor-Leste Government and a real boost for the next projects in the pipeline. It also demonstrates that the path made for the development of PPP projects is paying off and that the objectives are being achieved.

Timor-Leste´s strategy towards PPP projects has revealed to be sensible and ultimately successful. It should be noted that prior to the implementation of the project the Government have created a strong legal and institutional framework which provided strong grounds for the implementation of PPP projects in the country. One of the key elements was the establishment of a Public-Private Partnership and Loans Unit (PPPLU) under the Ministry of Finance, staffed with highly qualified consultants, which is not only responsible for developing the policy and adequate legislation and regulation before starting any PPP project but also for identifying potential PPP projects, studying effectively their viability and tendering them competitively and transparently to select an adequate private partner in coordination with other relevant authorities.

The Tibar Bay Port project was identified in 2011 and in 2012 the Government of Timor-Leste engaged the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to be the Transaction Advisor which have then involved other advisers, such as AFG Advogados; Gide Loyrette Nouel; Hamburg Port Consultant and EcoStrategic. However, the fact that the Government have also invested in the qualification and specialization of its own staff in the PPP Unit and in the recently created Project Management Unit for Tibar Bay Port (PMU-TBP), as day-to-day management representative of the Government in the project, was crucial for the success of this project and of more to come – ensuring the necessary preparation, effective execution and constant monitoring of the PPP project from the Government side.

Bolloré established a local company to be the Concessionaire – Timor Port S.A. (TPSA) – and reached financial close on the project in August 2018.

On 30 August 2018, Tibar Bay Port construction was initiated by Prime Minister of Timor-Leste and TPSA has subcontracted the Design and Construction to China Harbour Timor Lda (CHT) a subsidiary of China Harbour Engineering Company, one of the biggest port builders in the world. The construction will take three (3) years.

As of March 2019 around 114 Timorese have been employed directly while around 43 local subcontracts with amount of more than 2 million have been signed. It is estimated that more than 1,000 jobs will be created during construction, of which the vast majority will be for national citizens.

The Government expects the Tibar Port when becomes operational will increase trade especially with neighbouring countries. The new port will achieve greater regional and market integration that will contribute to reduce the cost of imports, bringing down the cost of essential imported goods, and make goods move faster and more efficient, which in turn will develop markets and allow for greater economic diversification and that the success of this project will serve as a good example for future PPP projects in the country.