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Interlink Shipping Claims Operational Loss After Landslide, FRA Responds

Interlink Shipping  Line Ltd, a new player in the shipping industry has urged the Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) to speed up with their work on the Kasavu landslide, due to
08 Feb 2017 11:00
Interlink Shipping Claims Operational Loss After Landslide, FRA Responds
MV Westerland owned by Interlink Shipping Line Ltd berthed at Nabouwalu Jetty, Bua. Photo: Taraivini Seru

Interlink Shipping  Line Ltd, a new player in the shipping industry has urged the Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) to speed up with their work on the Kasavu landslide, due to weight restriction made by the authority.

Company general manager, William Vulivuli said they faced a loss servicing the Suva to Nabouwalu route as the operating cost was very expensive.

“Due to the weight restriction at Kasavu, we were not able to service the Natovi and Nabouwalu route.”

Speaking to Sun Shipping, Mr Vulivuli said, the operating cost of the running a distance was doubled, compared to the Natovi and Nabouwalu route.

“On that, we are losing out on time as well, and that is why we are only making three trips a week,” Mr Vulivuli said.

Mr Vulivuli also stated that passengers had to find alternative routes and the cargo volume had dropped.

“We lost revenue, passengers and cost was double,” he said.

Mr Vulivuli was the former chief executive officer of Bligh Water Shipping, and together with former employees of Bligh Water Shipping, they were all now employed at Interlink.

 

About Interlink Shipping Line Ltd

Interlink was registered in 2015, and now operates the MV Westerland.

Currently, the vessel is able to accommodate 400 passengers and 15 trucks.

“We are planning to increase the capacity of passengers and trucks of the vessel,” Mr Vulivuli said.

The company had bought the MV Westerland, which was previously owned by Bligh Water Shipping.

After severe Tropical Cyclone Winston which damaged the inter-island ferry, it was left stranded on Savusavu Bay for more than three weeks.

“MV Westerland  is our first vessel, and we don’t plan to change the name, however, we do plan to get another vessel from overseas,” Mr Vulivuli said.

Mr Vulivuli said they were planning to purchase a new engine to refit the inside of the vessel before the end of the month.

MV Westerland  made its first trip under its new owner on Christmas Eve and according to Mr Vulivuli, they have made 13 trips so far.

“We are currently making three trips a week, but we will soon be making a daily trip once the work on Kasavu slides completes. At the moment, we now service Suva, Nabouwalu and Savusavu route.”

The acquisition of the MV Westerland, he added, eased the demand for maritime transportation by the public.

“We pride of ourselves with our service, and we are here to satisfy the demand of the public.”

 

Comments from Fiji Roads Authority

FRA chief executive officer, John Hutchinson, said FRA has engaged Geotechnical and Engineering consultants; Erasito Consultants Limited and Entec Limited to undertake preliminary assessments and topographical survey of both the Kasavu slip and Bau-Tikina bypass.

Mr Hutchison said investigation works were nearing completion with various options being considered.

“The investigations have revealed a number of issues, which affect potential alternative routes, alignment and reconstruction of the existing road.”

These issues, he said, must be fully investigated before detailed design, and engineering for a long term solution can be put in place.

Mr Hutchison said FRA was ‘acutely aware’ of the impact that the current restrictions were having on the travelling public and the industry in general.

“We are seeking to put in place an interim solution that will allow the road to be fully re-opened to traffic as quickly as possible whilst a long term solution is established,”  Mr Hutchison said.

 

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