PM&O STEPS UP MICRONESIA SHIPPING SERVICE

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PM&O STEPS UP MICRONESIA SHIPPING SERVICE

By Giff Johnson

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (August 13, 1999 – Marshall Islands Journal)--- San Francisco-based Pacific Micronesia and Orient Line is increasing the frequency of its container ship visits by adding a fourth vessel to its service to the Marshall Islands and Micronesia, the company announced in Majuro today.

Stepping up the frequency of ship arrivals from every third week to every second week -- from both Asia and the U.S. -- should be of "significant benefit to local businesses," said Majuro-based PM&O regional manager Keith Fawcett, because businesses will no longer have to maintain huge stock inventories as a hedge against shortages.

"Businesses can reduce their costs of inventory on hand," he said. "They’ll be able to order less for arrival more often."

Local businesses are used to ordering well in advance and stocking up to avoid shortages of goods. During the past two months, Majuro businesses have run out of rice, fresh milk, colas and other products, forcing customers to wait for the next arriving ship.

PM&O’s move is aimed at increasing its market share of the container business in the islands. All of PM&O’s stops throughout Micronesia and the Marshalls will benefit from the addition of a fourth ship, Fawcett said. Matson Navigation company is PM&O’s primary competitor in this north Pacific region.

In addition, PM&O’s new vessel -- the "Mild Lin" -- can carry up to 880 containers, a substantial step up from the three current PM&O ships that have a maximum capacity of 710 containers.

The first visit to Majuro by the new ship is expected on August 26.

The net effect of the increase will be for the three ports in the Marshalls to have a PM&O container ship arriving each week, alternating from east to west-bound.

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail: journal@ntamar.com Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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