24 Mar 2016

Solomons crisis looms as port reforms stifle business

3:37 pm on 24 March 2016

The prime minister of Solomon Islands has promised action to avert a looming economic crisis fuelled by increased fees and longer processing times at the country's international ports.

The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce said the ports claim to have raised fees by 254 percent.

But its chief executive Greg Terrill said this translates to an 1100 percent increase for some of his members.

Honiara port

Honiara port Photo: RNZ Koroi Hawkins

Mr Terrill said it is not yet clear what the prime minister's solution will involve.

But he said action is needed quickly as the situation has become so bad one shipping line has stopped visiting the Solomons and others are pooling services to try and make the route viable.

"There are notices starting to appear in shop windows at the moment apologies customers due to delays at the ports and increases [in fees] we wont be having the sales that we traditionally have or we don't have the goods that we had expected to carry. Parts are not coming in on time. There are companies trying to lay concrete or build houses and they are not being able to get access to the goods."