SUNBIZ

Shipping Agents Await Response

Local shipping agents are understood to be in discussion with their respective principles on the new ports fees and charges by Fiji Ports Corporation and Fiji Ports Terminal. The new
26 Aug 2015 09:24
Shipping Agents Await Response
Siangtan arrived at the Port of Suva, Kings Wharf on August 22. She was travelling from the Port of Vancouver with 21 crew members. Photo: Rama

Local shipping agents are understood to be in discussion with their respective principles on the new ports fees and charges by Fiji Ports Corporation and Fiji Ports Terminal.

The new port fees and charges came into effect on Monday, August 24.

Fiji Ship Owners and Agency Association chairperson, Jeffrey Lin, said the agents were waiting feedback from their respective principles on these revised tariffs.

Mr Lin said any increases taking place puts the shipping costs higher.

“In this context in particular, the recent increases range between 30 per cent upwards to 200 per cent. The principles are not happy,” he said.

“But at the end of the day, whatever increases will be passed back to the importers and exporters. As far as the agents are concerned right now, we are waiting on our principles to come back to us.”

Upgrading infrastructure

Meanwhile, Mr Lin said the association understands efforts to promote Fiji as a hub and that our infrastructure needs to go with that.

Government has indicated already that a third of the port cannot be used by container ships because it is so weak that it might fall.

Mr Lin acknowledged this and said there are sections of the port where the mobile crane cannot access because of the weaker foundation.

“Having said that, the ships continue to work on all the berths but there are only sections of the wharf that the mobile crane can work on. We need to improve port infrastructure.”

Mr Lin said as an association, they are not against the port tariff increases.

“For us the concern was the lack of further consultation and the quantum of the increases,” he said.

“We had made a submission to the Fiji Commerce Commission with that understanding they will come back to us but unfortunately they did not.

“Yes we agree that every business needs to review their rate. The last review was back in 2009 and so yes it was overdue.

“But it’s just the quantum – we would have preferred a gradual increase as opposed to a sharp increase.”

 

Cargo en-route

Mr Lin said as he has already mentioned, there is cargo in the waters on route to Fiji that are priced as per the old tariff.

“The new tariffs came into effect from Monday which means the shipping lines are either out of pocket of they need to quickly pass on that back to the importers and exporters,” he said.

“This is again unfair on the importers and exporters because they have also priced using the old tariff.”

Mr Lin said they have been informed by the Fiji Commerce Commission that any review on the port fees and charges will be done in March next year.

Feedback: rachnal@fijisun.com.fj

 



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