News Release

Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Nouméa, New Caledonia

May 12, 2009

Small island states (SIS) in the Pacific islands region want shipping services strengthened to secure much needed regular services to countries in the group.

A meeting of Ministers for maritime transport in SIS will be held tomorrow in Tonga mainly to deliberate on the progress made by SPC and the Pacific Islands Forum secretariat (PIFS) in improving shipping services to SIS aimed at improving regularity of services and reducing freight costs.

The SIS group at the meeting will include Kiribati, Tuvalu, and Nauru, Niue, Marshall Islands, Cook Islands, Palau and Wallis & Futuna and French Polynesia.

The meeting will consider the need for various solutions to improve SIS shipping.

Previous SPC Regional Maritime Programme (RMP) reports have recommended a purpose-built vessel donor supplied ship, hub ports and regional shipping commissions to regulate shipping services in different sub-regions of the Pacific.

Shipping services are critically important to SIS given the high dependency on imports.

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