SHIPPING

Decline In Cargo Volumes Due To Pandemic

Fiji Ports Terminal Limited (FPTL) chief executive officer Hasthika Bandara Dela confirmed yesterday that there had been an 11 per cent reduction in import and export volumes the past four months compared to the same period last year.
27 May 2020 12:27
Decline In Cargo Volumes Due To Pandemic
Container vessel Hota Hakim departed Lautoka yesterday for Honiara, Solomon Island.

Cargo volumes are down by 11 per cent at all Fijian ports as the shipping industry continues to grapple with the negative effects of the pandemic COVID-19.

Fiji Ports Terminal Limited (FPTL) chief executive officer Hasthika Bandara Dela confirmed yesterday that there had been an 11 per cent reduction in import and export volumes the past four months compared to the same period last year.

Mr Dela said impact of the economic disruptions was caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Many strong economies have succumbed to the Coronavirus pandemic. This was resulted in disruptions to production and supply chain globally,” Mr Dela said.

“Many ports are experiencing low cargo volumes and Fiji being part of the global network and supply chain is not exempted from the same,” he said.

Mr Dela said Fiji would pick up once the pandemic passed.

Meanwhile many shippers and ports are expecting the decline to increase in the coming weeks.

“Nevertheless, all vessel services are calling into Fiji without any changes and we believe the volumes will pick up once the economies of our neighboring countries are fully functional,” he said.

“According to the information received volumes on trans-Pacific services has considerably declined, nevertheless there’s no major impact to the Fiji bound volumes.”

“Like any other nation Fiji is well connected with the rest of the world. During this pandemic crisis we are also feeling the impact,” Fiji Ports Corperation Limited (FPCL) chief executive officer Vajira Piyasena said.

“Having a cruise liner ban (tourists’ vessels) till further advised during this crisis is one of many factors that our economy, businesses and many other industries have been affected,” Mr Piyasena said.

According to Mr Piyasena, 22 cruise vessels were scheduled for Fiji from March to June this year.

He said since March 16, 2020, a total of 166 freight and cargo vessels arrived in Fiji not including the fishing vessels.

“A total of 485 international ships arrived from January until April 30, 2020,” he said.

In the first 18 weeks of this year, 13 car carriers came to Fiji. The last vehicles carrier arrived in Suva on April 30.

There has also been a decrease in the number of vessels on the Fiji Ships and Heavy Industries Limited (FSHIL) slipway compared to the same time last year.

FSHIL director Lopeti Radravu, attributed the decrease to Coronavirus.

“Foreign vessels are not coming in due to the 28 days quarantine period and the global outbreak of Coronavirus,” Mr Radavu said.

From January to April this year, Mr Radravu said there were 16 vessels on the slipway.

Compared to the same period last year, he said there were 21 vessels on the slipway.

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

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