NEW SHIPPING SERVICE TARGETS TONGA’S VAVA‘U, HA‘APAI

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Locally-owned JAWS South Pacific Shipping makes debut

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Sept. 27, 2011) – JAWS South Pacific Shipping Company in August began a direct general cargo service from Auckland to Vava'u and Ha'apai, using a multi-purpose cargo vessel, the MV St. Theresa.

The company is a new shipping venture of a local business family, Joseph and Soane Ramanlal.

Joseph said on September 23 that the ship had been operating as a multi-purpose vessel in the Falkland Islands before they bought it, and it has been registered to operate in Tonga.

The 600-ton MV St. Theresa will provide a twice a month direct service from Auckland to Vava'u-Ha'apai and return.

[PIR editor's note: Shipping and cargo movement around the Pacific has seen various improvements over the past year. In March 2011, the Tongan government announced that wharfage fees for inter-island cargo transfers would be cut by 65 percent, from about US$8 to US$3 in order to boost economic activity and allow goods to be accessed more easily.]

He said that the vessel could carry general cargo, including 10-foot and 20-foot containers and up to 12 vehicles; it also has a 200,000-liter fuel tank.

The vessel arrived at Neiafu yesterday, September 26 for offloading and loading of cargo before departing for Ha'apai and returning to Auckland.

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