France might turn Noumea port into regional hub

9:02 am on 9 February 2018

France says it is planning to turn some overseas ports into regional hubs, citing Noumea in the Pacific as a trans-shipment place already projecting the French transport sector.

The overseas minister Annick Girardin says the concept could be extended to Reunion in the Indian Ocean and the French Antilles in the Caribbean.

She also said the potential of France's overseas areas in terms of renewable energy is enormous but more studies are needed on how to best harness the currents and the wind.

Ms Girardin said to develop the cruise ship sector, things to consider are visa waivers and the creation of a tax-free zones in key ports.

She also said aquaculture has huge potential but warns of the scourge of illegal fishing, particularly in the Pacific and off French Guyana, with drones now being trialled to help with surveillance.

Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia.

Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades