Emergency assistance for rehabilitation and reconstruction of three ports in Palu Bay, Central Sulawesi

In 2018 the island of Sulawesi was struck by an earthquake with a force of 7.2 on the Richter scale. The earthquake caused a tsunami that destroyed large parts of the city of Palu and resulted in the loss of many lives. The shape of Palu Bay, acting like a funnel, played a major role in increasing the size of the waves, which rose to six metres high near Palu while being much smaller in surrounding areas.

A consortium consisting of AECOM Indonesia, Diagram Triproporsi, Atrya Swascipta Rekayasa, Cita Prisma and Witteveen+Bos Indonesia was asked to assist Indonesia’s Ministry of Transportation in rehabilitation, construction and enhancement works for three ports in Palu Bay (Pantoloan, Donggala and Wani) that suffered significant damage. The range of objects and systems affected – including the berth structure, electrical facilities, water and wastewater systems, cargo handling facilities, office buildings, a warehouse, and communication facilities, with road access also being impacted – made it a very large-scale project. Financing was provided by the Asian Development Bank.

As the government wanted to integrate the management of all ports in Palu Bay, an updated master plan also needed to be prepared. Our experts first developed preliminary designs for appropriate facilities at each of the three ports. The facilities were designed to best serve Central Sulawesi’s future port requirements in respect of increasing business activity and economic growth in the region.

The plan also needed to accommodate the logistic requirements of rehabilitation efforts in the region: the local community consists in large part of fishers, farmers, traders and cattle herders who rely on transport by sea – which is cheaper than inland transport – to deliver their products to other regions.

Following approval of the preliminary designs, we prepared detailed engineering designs and conducted a feasibility study for works at the three ports.

Currently around 80 % of construction works in Palu Bay have been completed; the project is expected to wrap up in January 2024.

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