Island News

COVID-19: Islanders Assured Supply Of Basic Goods, Food

The South Island Shipping Company and Goundar Shipping Services, whose vessels serve the islands of our Maritime Zone, support the strict stance taken by the Government.
28 Mar 2020 11:51
COVID-19: Islanders Assured Supply Of Basic Goods, Food
Kadavu passengers loading their cargo early yesterday at Port Mua-i-walu.

Islanders in the Maritime Zone can rest assured that they will never be in short supply of basic goods including necessary materials for their livelihood.

This follows the positive declaration given by shipping operators as they support the Government’s directives in measures to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, COVID-19.

Initially, there were mixed reactions to a directive that only the transportation of freight will continue after all passenger travel to the island provinces ceases midnight, tonight.

The South Island Shipping Company and Goundar Shipping Services, whose vessels serve the islands of our Maritime Zone, support the strict stance taken by the Government.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, after announcing Fiji’s fifth confirmed case of the coronavirus disease on Wednesday said: “Shipping lines for freight will continue –– with increased bulk but decreased frequency –– to ensure food and other essential goods are supplied across our islands.”

While South Island Shipping Company raised reservations, Goundar Shipping Services maintained that their priority was “service to the people”.

Goundar Shipping Acting Director, Indra Goundar said they supported the move by the Government because it was in the interest of the nation.

“It’s a good thing that Government has stepped in to stop the spread of the virus, we support the idea because we have to bear in mind Fiji is a third world country and we don’t have the modern facilities if suddenly this outbreak gets out of control,” she said.

“As for the transportation of freight we could even end up in a loss, but our focus is to help Fiji beat the virus.

“And even the option to pull out will not be entertained as well, because our priority has and will always be to serve the public, to help people of Fiji.”

South Island Shipping Company owner Ulaiasi Baivatu said he had already made arrangements for passenger travel which ends tonight.

“We left for the usual trip to Dravuni Island and villages along the way to Kadavu Koro in Babaceva,” he said.

“After Sunday our issue will be with freight charges, which I think should be increased. On some of the franchise trips sometimes there is not much cargo.”

Mr Baivatu hopes the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission will look into this and provide some relief if the going got tougher.

Feedback: percy.kean@fijisun.com.fj

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