Caption: Commissioners of CPSC signing the outcomes statement following the CPSC annual general meeting in Suva, Fiji.
Friday 20 September 2013, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji – The central Pacific region’s ambition for a more reliable, affordable and sustainable shipping service is making strides after a historic endorsement of a call for expressions of interest by the region’s ministers and officials at the conclusion of the Central Pacific Shipping Commission (CPSC) annual general meeting in Suva today (20 September).
Transport ministers and officials from Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru and Tuvalu endorsed and launched the call for expressions of interest in the presence of representatives of shipping companies and operators that are currently serving central Pacific routes.
Under policies coming into effect on 1 January 2014, CPSC will issue shipping licences to approved shippers with validity period of five years. Shipping companies will be given one month notice for processing of applications.
SPC’s Economic Development Division Director, John Hogan in his opening address acknowledged the extensive work done by CPSC member countries and SPC to operationalise the commission.
‘I am very pleased that we have now come to this stage of the journey of CPSC. The shipping commission has had a long gestation period and the road has not always been smooth. There were a lot of detractors who told us we couldn’t do this but we are here today and endorsing the operations of CPSC,’ he said.
‘The hard work and the consistency in commitment to this regional effort has been amazing .This is a home grown effort, by the Pacific, for service to the Pacific Island countries,’ he said.
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 the small island states in the region.
An annual awards night to reward the efforts of shipping companies/stakeholders that provide highly efficient and effective service to the CPSC member countries is also planned.
SPC’s Shipping Advisor John Rounds said that once it assumes its regulatory role, the commission will ‘regulate international commercial shipping operations but at the same time protect approved shipping companies.’
‘CPSC will serve as a medium for consultation on matters affecting international shipping services to all of its members. It will cooperate in advancing an attractive shipping environment to service providers and form a united front for the negotiation of favourable shipping services through joint regulation and enforcement of shipping policies,’ he said.
‘CPSC is modelled after the Micronesian Shipping Commission (MSC). We have a memorandum of understanding with MSC and we are hoping for continued collaboration between the two commissions in the future,’ he said.
The three-day meeting was facilitated by SPC’s Transport Programme and was held at its Suva regional office from 18 to 20 September. It was attended by the transport ministers and officials from the CPSC member governments, representatives of shipping companies operating in the Pacific and other stakeholders.