2 May 2005

Tonga port tariff rise called excessive and may be cut

7:59 pm on 2 May 2005

Tonga's Stevedores and Shipowners Association says the Nukualofa Port Authority deferred a 25-per cent tariff hike because of its opposition to the move.

The tariff, due to have been introduced at Tonga's main port on April 1, has been deferred until July 1.

The Association secretary, Peter Corbett, says the Ports Authority now has three months to justify the rise after meeting with the Association and the Minister of Commerce.

Mr Corbett says the Ports Authority has blamed the increased tariff on rising costs, but he says it's excessive.

"We hope that common sense will prevail, and that we hope there will be if anything, a reduction in the increase on the basis of submissions made and the view of public opinion, as far as the consumer is confirmed. And we hope the ports authority will produce some figures to justify what the increase is."

Peter Corbett, secretary of the Stevedores and Shipowners association in Tonga.