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EDITORIAL: George Goundar Helps Boost The Island Links

  George Goundar continues to sail ahead, helping boost the resurgence of the local interisland ferry business. His Goundar Shipping’s latest vessel, Lomaiviti Princess IV, was commissioned at Walu Bay
09 Dec 2016 11:00
EDITORIAL: George Goundar Helps Boost The Island Links
Editorial

 

George Goundar continues to sail ahead, helping boost the resurgence of the local interisland ferry business.

His Goundar Shipping’s latest vessel, Lomaiviti Princess IV, was commissioned at Walu Bay yesterday.

All the Goundar Shipping vessels are named Lomaiviti Princess as Mr Goundar comes from a family that originates from Koro Island in the province of Lomaiviti.

Mr Goundar was born and brought up on the island before moving out for higher education and more opportunities.

He is not new to the local shipping industry. His family owned and operated a well-known old-style interisland trader (MV Tui Levuka) for more than 20 years.

He is a skilled marine engineer himself, with over 30 years of experience in service, repair, maintenance and management of the engine rooms on various shipping vessels, carrying passengers and cargo.

His company purchased its first vessel, the Lomaiviti Princess I, in 2011. It previously operated as a BC Ferries roll-on, roll-off passenger and cargo ferry on the British Columbia coast in Canada.

It brought a new level of service to the Suva-Koro-Savusavu-Taveuni route.

Now with the arrival of Goundar Shipping’s fourth vessel, there is increasing competition in the shipping industry. Plus, better services to the smaller islands.

This is boosted by the Government-supported Shipping Franchise Scheme, helping ensure guaranteed services.

Gone are the days when people from the outer islands had to wait for months to catch a ship to go back to their islands.

Because of this, those in the islands were also denied some of their basic needs, like sugar, flour, washing soap, rice, oil etc. They only get them from Suva through their village stores orders.

We must thank the Government for the help it had made to the industry viability with the introduction of the Shipping Franchise Scheme.

In a release last year Commander Francis Kean, then the Permanent Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport, said the franchise scheme has been revamped.

The previous franchise scheme had 10 routes and had been reduced to eight by merging the two Lomaiviti routes.

Government then added another new route to the franchise scheme to service the Northern Division.

For five routes Government has increased the frequency of service from one per month to twice per month. These routes are Northern Lau, Lomaiviti, Kadavu, Upper Southern Lau and Yasayasa Moala.

Commander Kean said six routes were awarded to successful companies to service for the next two years.

This included the Lomaiviti, Lower Southern Lau, Northern Lau, Kadavu, Rotuma and Macuata/Cikobia routes.

Government support. New routes. New frequencies. New ships. Enterprising owners like George Goundar. It all adds up to better services for our islands and those who live in them.

Feedback:  maikab@fijisun.com.fj

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