SUNBIZ

Shipping Franchise Scheme Benefits Islands

  Local ship companies, contracted by the Ministry of Transport under the Shipping Franchise Scheme have started their franchise service for 2017. Victoria Marine Limited manager shipping Pita Cokomata has
04 Jan 2017 11:00
Shipping Franchise Scheme Benefits Islands
Brianna.

 

Local ship companies, contracted by the Ministry of Transport under the Shipping Franchise Scheme have started their franchise service for 2017.

Victoria Marine Limited manager shipping Pita Cokomata has thanked the Government for this scheme as it provided those living in maritime islands with a confirmed ship trip in a month.

According to Mr Cokomata,the franchise scheme has provide a valuable service to those maritime communities which because of their geographical location and minimum economic activity are uneconomical for commercial shipping to service.

Mr Cokomata said, the shipping companies contracted under the scheme had found the scheme to be a cost effective means of providing this social obligation, and those communities being serviced under the scheme had managed to create some form of economic activity in those remote locations.

In some instances Mr Cokomata said, it had been beneficial to shipping companies both financially to Fiji by way of creating employment for seafarers and shore based support staff who otherwise would be out of jobs.

Mr Cokomata said, the effect of cyclone Winston has impacted the Northern Lau Franchise. He said, that the produce came out of the areas for sale in Suva had been markedly reduced. “This effect on the income of the islanders has reduced the cargo going out, likewise affecting the income for the companies servicing the franchise route,” Mr Cokomata said.

Comments from a franchise contracted operator is that when such natural disasters occur it would be very helpful if the authorities could look at assisting the contractors by farther subsidies to offset the effects of revenue loss during this period.

He said, it was farther commented that some routes would never be able to become economically viable as limited resources in those islands would not allow for expansion. Under such circumstances Mr Cokomata said, the franchise subsidy would need to be adjusted in accordance with the rise in the costs of providing this service and making it viable for the service to keep operating.

He says another situation which occurs and where subsidies would be helpful to offset the shortfall operating costs is when there is a seasonal fall in cargo and passengers being transported.

Today he said, the affected islanders had recovered and had been reflected in the increased cargoes for all vessels shipped to Viti Levu.

Meanwhile the Vanua Valesasa Transport Company has its franchise contract to the Yasayasa Moala expired last November and still has its franchise contract to Babaceva in Kadavu.

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