5 Percent Reduction For Cook Islands Freight Costs

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Southern Reef company providing increased shipping services

By Calida Smylie

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Oct. 8, 2012) – A 5 percent reduction in all shipping freight costs to and from the Cook Islands was announced on Friday.

The announcement was made by Associate Minister of Transport Teina Bishop at a reception at Mama’s Cafe to celebrate the new Southern Reef service, run by the Tai Moana consortium and Reef Shipping.

"Long live this relationship," Bishop proclaimed, to applause from a crowd of around 50, mostly loyal Reef customers.

Uritaua-i-uta Andrew Turua believes the new development is for the benefit of all Cook Islanders.

"Whether you are a politician, whether you are a ua ariki, whether you are an ordinary guy, this is for all of us. We own this place – the development belongs to us."

All Black legend Michael Jones, who is a director at Reef Shipping in New Zealand, came across for the party along with his colleagues trade manager Ewan Grant and account manager Shelly Wright.

He says the new service, which has doubled the number of sailings from Auckland to Rartonga and more than doubled the capacity to carry goods here, will greatly benefit Cook Islanders.

The Southern Reef arrived via Tahiti on Saturday morning, and has opened up a historic trading and cultural route that has been dormant for nearly 50 years. The ship will take over the service that Tiare Torupu started 90 years ago.

Goods unloaded into Rarotonga from the Southern Reef this weekend included a shipment of state-of-the-art Tahitian-made outrigger canoes.

The vessel will also take away 14 containers of PET plastic bottles recycled from the landfill, free of charge.

"Reef is very much a shipping company that is committed to the region...we believe we are a good fit for the community," said Jones, pointing out the company is 100 percent New Zealand owned and operated, with a long history in the Pacific.

"Shipping is critical to society and making sure there is a sustainable future," he said.

Jones thanked Cook Islanders for their continued support, finishing with the Maori proverb he aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata – what is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people.

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