2 Apr 2015

Cuts to Aitutaki shipping service reversed

11:56 am on 2 April 2015

Pacific Line Direct has reversed its decision to cut shipping services to Aitutaki in Cook Islands from two voyages to one per month.

Aitutaki Lagoon, Cook Islands

Aitutaki Lagoon, Cook Islands Photo: RNZI

The reversal comes after Aitutaki MP Teina Bishop wrote to the two companies who were planning to axe the service.

However, the Tiare Moana's voyages to Aitutaki will only continue for the next three months, while a longer-term solution is sought.

Pacific Direct Line (PDL) on Tuesday informed customers by letter that they had been advised their plans to cut the direct service between New Zealand and the Cook Islands, under the Uma shipping licence, was contrary to Cook Islands law, as it lessens competition.

They were alerted to the 1999 International Shipping Act by Mr Bishop, who wrote to Matson South Pacific and Uma Shipping last week to explain that their move was illegal.

In PDL's letter to customers, it said there was a legal requirement for the service frequency to Aitutaki provided for in the licence, be maintained.

However, this would not be possible under the arrangement they had made to cut the service.

Cook Islands news reports that earlier this year PDL said the service would be dropped because it was no longer viable.

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