Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

FSM Secretary of TC&I Visits Chinese Company on Progress of Chuuk ARFF Facility

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Department of Transportation, Communication, & Infrastructure): December 14, 2009 - The Honorable Francis I. Itimai, Secretary of the FSM Dept. of Transportation, Communications & Infrastructure, recently visited the Province of Jiangzu in Nanjing, People's Republic of China, with a small technical delegation to meet with the executives of a construction company called China Jiangzu International Technical Cooperation Company. This is the company that was awarded the construction of the Chuuk airport's Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting (ARFF) Facility that is currently under construction, but behind schedule. The trip took place from Nov. 17-20, 2009.

Members of the FSM delegation included Mr. Massy Halbert, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Division of Civil Aviation and also the AIP Program Manager, Mr. Frank Lyon Jr., President of LYON Associates, and Dr. Mao Peng, Vice President/Structural & Civil Engineer for LYON Associates.

The delegation met with executives from China Jiangzu, namely, Mr. Kong Xingning, Chairman and also a member of Jiangzu Province People's Parliament, Mr. Gu Yuesheng, President, Mr. Liu Jianzhong, Project Manager, and Mr. Justin Zhou, Project Engineer/Interpreter

The purpose of the delegation's visit was to bring FSM's concerns on Chuuk's ARFF project to the attention of the company executives and resolve them by putting measures in place to avoid falling further behind construction schedule. The concerns discussed included the completion of the construction of the Chuuk ARFF project at the earliest time possible, the imposing of liquidation damage, and finding aggregate soon for the project to continue, as the acquisition of aggregate has been a problem for some time.

During the dialogue, the contractor was able to explain the issues that are contributing to the delay of the project. These issues include the Construction Manager (CM), GMP of Honolulu, Hawaii, is holding two of their invoices and not paying them. This has caused a cash flow problem and they need cash to keep the project moving for procuring materials, paying workers and etc. Also, the CM refuses to cooperate and seems to find ways to put hardship in their working relationship. The contractor also explained that the CM takes more than a month to respond to each Request For Information (RFI) preventing them from moving forward. The contractor also explained that the water tanks in the design are full of flaws in terms of specification and design and that the lack of aggregate locally and lack of local skilled workers has slowed the project down.

The FSM delegation made it clear that it can no longer approve time extensions. The people of Chuuk and the FSM National Government are both deeply concerned on the delay in this project. To this end, the contractor, China Jiangzu, has hired 34 more laborers locally bringing the total number of workers to 62 and shipped in new equipment to help speed up the work. The Company has already spoken with APSCO, a source of aggregate in Pohnpei State, and APSCO has assured them that they can produce the quantity of aggregate the company needs for the project. The Chairman of China Jiangzu stated his profound disappointment with the project and committed $2 million of his company's own money to help speed up the project. They further assured the FSM delegation that the project will be finished by end of March 2010.

In terms of the working relationship between China Jiangzu and GMP of Hawaii, the FSM will look into the invoices and ask them to expedite their review process. China Jiangzu will also begin to copy the FSM in all of their communications with the CM so the FSM can help facilitate or expedite what needs to be done. Finally, the FSM will work with the designer/CM to ensure the design of the water tanks is looked into immediately by the CM.

The Chairman of China Jiangzu, along with his management team, is interested in establishing a new branch office in the FSM to pursue their interest in participating in the FSM Infrastructure Development. The FSM delegation returned to Pohnpei with hopes that this meeting will expedite the completion of the Chuuk Airport's ARFF Facility.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356