13 Jun 2016

New system at Vanuatu wharf eases tensions

9:17 am on 13 June 2016
A cruise ship departs Port Vila harbour in Vanuatu.

A cruise ship departs Port Vila harbour in Vanuatu. Photo: RNZI / Jamie Tahana

A new traffic system being trialled at the main wharf in Vanuatu's capital has helped ease tensions over access to cruise ship passengers.

In March, disagreements between public transport providers and tour operators saw several altercations at the Port Vila wharf including an incident where stones where thrown at a tour bus.

The vice president of the Vanuatu Cruise Tourism Association said the two month trial, which began two weeks ago, has so far been well received.

John Tonner said the trial has seen the relocation of market vendors, a dribble feed-and-flow system for land transport and compliance from water taxis.

"And it has sort of reached the shore tours or the ship booked tours independent tours," he said.

"There are a lot of players that all had to operate within a small facility and to make sure that we had safe and compliant operations. So in a lot of ways it was turning a square wheel into a round wheel."

John Tonner said if the trial was successful then steps would be taken to establish a permanent traffic management system.

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