2 May 2005

Tonga port charge increase delayed until July

1:59 pm on 2 May 2005

A 25 percent increase due to have been introduced at Tonga's main port on April the 1st has been deferred until July the 1st by the Nuku'alofa Port Authority.

The change of heart came about following a meeting between representatives of the Tonga Port Agents Stevedores and Shipowners Association and the Minister of Commerce, Dr Fred Sevele.

Matangi Tonga says the Association believed that increased tariffs would impact directly on the consumer prices, and may cause cruise ships to reconsider calling into Tonga.

The Secretary of the Stevedores and Ship-owners Association, Peter Corbett pointed out that a 25 percent increase in the cruise vessel tariff would mean a rise from 1,000 to 2,500 US dollars per vessel.