The island of Rodrigues, an autonomous island and part of the Republic of Mauritius is located about 600 kilometers to the north-east of Mauritius at 19.42 S and 63.25 E. The island has a population of almost 42,000 people and covers an area of around 108 km2(roughly 18 km by 6.5 km) with a coastline length stretching over 80 km.
In December 2002, Rodrigues was granted autonomy within the Republic of Mauritius and set up its own Regional Assembly and an Executive Council, chaired by a Chief Commissioner.
Crop farming, an emerging green tourism sector, livestock rearing, lagoon fishing and local handicraft industry are the main economic activities on the island.
Port Mathurin facilities and vessel calls
The port facilities in Port Mathurin have been in place for many years, the key components of which include a dredged approach channel extending over 1,200 m in length and 120 m wide, with daylight navigational aids; a rectangular shaped turning basin of 210 m diameter and a quay wall of 175 m, of which about only 130 m providing sufficient water depth to berth cargo vessels regularly calling from Mauritius.
The entire port area covers about 2.5 hectares with a yard of about 175 terminal ground slots for container storage with a maximum of three high stacking and some reefer plugs. Containers are handled by large fork lift trucks, of 26 and 36 tonnes capacity equipped with spreaders. Yard trucks and trailers are available for the transfer of containers and cargo between the quay and the yard. Smaller FLT’s (6 tons and 2 tons) are operated for miscellaneous transport services.
There is the passenger terminal, completed in 1997 and covering 1,000 m2 that is in use for embarking/disembarking passengers from the Mauritius Trochetia and the occasional cruise passengers. A Granary shed, of an area of 875 m2 and 600 tonnes storage capacity is in use for storage of bagged rice, flour and sugar.
Rodrigues island relies quite strongly on Mauritius for its basic supplies. These are conveyed mainly by inter-island cargo vessels, sailing between Mauritius and Rodrigues on a regular schedule. The freighting company is MSCL (Mauritius Shipping Corporation Limited) which owns the vessel “Mauritius Trochetia” that carries both cargo and passengers and also charters the vessel “Anna” that carries mainly containers. Passengers are carried both by air and by sea, mostly by the multipurpose vessel, MV Trochetia.
During the past decade, tourist numbers increased at an average rate of 14% p.a. Since then, the numbers have risen and fallen cyclically, reaching some 50,000 arrivals recently. However the objective now is to increase tourist arrivals by 8% p.a., in line with the 2002 Tourism Development Plan, It is estimated that the maximum “accommodation capacity” of the island revolves around 100-120,000 tourist arrivals.