Caption: Commissioners of CPSC with representatives of the successful shipping companies.
Tuesday 12 November 2013, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji – PB080146Irregular and unreliable shipping services in the Central Pacific region may be a thing of the past with the announcement that three shipping service providers had been selected to service the Central Pacific region, starting on 1 January 2014.
After a week of deliberations, Pacific Direct Line International, Swire/China Navigation and Neptune Pacific Line/Pacific Forum Line were awarded Entry Assurance Certificates by the Central Pacific Shipping Commission (CPSC) at a short ceremony in Suva on Friday (8 November).
Expressions of interest (EOI) were received from Vessel Operating Common Carriers and Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers, following the launch EOI in September this year. The CPSC Technical Committee was then tasked to scrutinise each application.
The selection of the three shipping companies was based on a number of mandatory requirements, including the ability to provide reliable and regular shipping services to all four CPSC member states: Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru and Tuvalu. The CPSC technical committee examined the nature of each company, as well as its experience and technical and managerial capabilities, including its offers of assistance to the CPSC member states, such as training opportunities for seafarers.
SPC’s Shipping Advisor, John Rounds, acknowledged that whilst regulating shipping is not the perfect solution, given the current situation this is the prudent option. In congratulating the successful bidders, he acknowledged the extensive work done by CPSC member states and SPC and the support from donors and shipping companies that have worked together to promote this regional initiative.
The Entry Assurance Certificate/shipping licence is valid for a period of five years and is subject to an annual review.
Realising the importance of shipping to the socio-economic development of the Central Pacific region, its members have formed national shipping councils and taskforces to monitor shipping, port operations and sea and shore-based operations that impact on shipping and trade.
CPSC was launched in October 2010 in Tonga, with the intention of controlling competition, enhancing socio-economic development and providing affordable and sustainable commercial shipping services to small island states in the region.
China Navigation Limited also announced that it is planning to increase the current number of locally recruited seafarers in its fleets and said it is committed to supporting regional maritime training institutions.
The week-long Suva meeting was facilitated by SPC’s Transport Programme and was attended by the transport ministers, who are the commissioners, and their secretaries, who comprise the CPSC Technical Committee. Also in attendance were officials from CPSC member governments, representatives of shipping companies operating in the Pacific and other stakeholders.