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Infrastructure and personnel are top priorities for newly named Port Director

Falenaoti Loi-on Fruean
Voices intent to complete projects scheduled by late director King

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The newly approved director of Port Administration, Falenaoti Loi-on Fruean is a woman on a mission.

Aside from infrastructure projects with the department, one of the top priorities for the new director is the reclassification of personnel.

In an exclusive interview with Samoa News, Loi-on Fruean said “personnel is always a priority. 

 “DPA is understaffed especially with our Water Transportation Division, Seaport Security, Airport Police, and Maintenance divisions.

 “A reclassification of personnel is being done internally before we submit to the Director of Human Resources for her review and approval.

 “Our employees are our most valuable assets, if they are not happy, they will not provide the best service to our community and Users,” she said.

The director further stated they are also trying to maximize the use of airport land to generate revenue for the airport. Land leases “our second biggest revenue source” she said, noting that “as an enterprise fund, the Airport needs to generate enough revenue to be self-sustainable, and we are not at that point yet.”

Loi-on Fruean further stated she plans to continue through with plans that originated during the late Port director Christopher King’s time.

“I want to complete what Director King has scheduled for the Department for the 4 years of this Administration.

 “To fully complete the Apron Rehab project by February 2023; start Rehabilitation of RW5/23 (7,000 ft.) — resurface runway; terminal Building Reconstruction — in design phase now. 

“Tentative schedule to bid out Phase 1 of this project, which includes the JetBridge is November 2023.  “Anticipate construction by early 2024.

“Also the runway 8/26 (Runway Safety Area Shoreline Protection) — to complete EA and full design, and in Manu’a the Fitiuta Runway Lights Project — it started this month, Jan 2023.”

Regarding seaports, Loi-on Fruean said the port building project is now in design phase. 

 “Tentative schedule to bid out Phase 1 of this project is August 2023; anticipate to start construction Jan 2024.”

For the Port Floodlights, Loi-on Fruean said the contract was awarded in Dec 2022. 

 “In the interim, CEO Wallon of ASPA and his team has provided a temporary solution that will assist our Port Users to operate in a safe working environment, especially our Stevedoring companies.

The procurement process for new fendors is ongoing. “In the interim, CEO Carlos Sanchez of Shipyard Authority has graciously offered his expertise and team's assistance to install fenders to protect both wharf and vessels when docking.”

For the Ofu Wharf Facilities, funding has been secured and the statement of work is being reviewed by the funding agency, which is the Department of Commerce.

 “Aunuu & Auasi Wharf facilities, the department is currently seeking funding as we really need to upgrade these facilities for ADA compliance, safety of community traveling back and forth especially our students and teachers living in Aunu’u, but work and go to school in Tutuila.”

The Department of Port Administration manages six seaports and three airports throughout the territory.

This infrastructure is critical as they serve as the only gateways to the island, she said.