Tokelau is hoping for a number of high quality tenders to choose from for the construction of their new vessel.
The New Zealand government is handling the tender process for the new ship that's expected to take two years to complete.
The Apia based general manager of Tokelau's National Services, Joe Suveinakama, says it remains a top priority under their National Strategic Plan development goals.
He says alternative transport plans, such as for an airstrip, are now on hold and whoever wins the tender faces several challenges.
"I mean Tokelau shipping demands are quite different from everyone else in the sense that in other countries you have a passenger vessel, or a cargo vessel or a vessel that carries fuel. But imagine if you try and put all those needs in one vessel, that is the kind of landscape we are dealing with. We expect it to be tough."
Joe Suveinakama says tender applications close next month.
In the interim, Tokelau is utilising the PB Matua boat for transportation services.