13 May 2009

Pacific small island states ponder their challenges

3:13 pm on 13 May 2009

The triple threat of food-fuel volatility, climate change and the present economic crisis will feature prominently when Ministers of maritime transport from the small island states meet in Tonga tomorrow.

These issues coupled with natural disasters are eroding the resilience of the Pacific region and continue to confront the regional maritime sector.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community's Regional Maritime Programme Manager, Captain John Hogan says the challenge is to develop efficient low cost shipping that is able to overcome distance and isolation and at the same time be economically viable.

The Ministers will also look at the SPC's intra-regional trade and commodity mapping within the Pacific, together with the need to negotiate regional transportation routes, licencing and frequency of ship calls.

Another issue is the need for adequate port facilities to encourage increased cruise ship visits.