Small island states in the Pacific, which have had to put up with costly irregular shipping services, are about to get more regular servicing.
The Government-owned Kiribati Shipping Services has started a service connecting Nauru, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Wallis and Futuna to Suva and says it's confident it will be profitable.
The announcement has come during a meeting of Maritime Ministers from the small island states being held in Tonga.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community has been working with the small islands states to improve shipping and its Regional Maritime Programme Manager, Captain John Hogan, says the countries are delighted progress is being made.
"We have also just heard from Samoa Shipping Services in Samoa that they are now looking at a feasibility study to provide a service from Apia to Tokelau, the Northern Cooks, the Southern Cooks, Niue, American Samoa and back to Apia."
Captain John Hogan of the SPC