Franchise scheme enhances island accessibility: Kinivuwai

December 7, 2023 6:44 am

[File Photo]

The Ministry of Transport has clarified the involvement of eight private vessel operators servicing the government franchise scheme.

This follows concerns raised by those from the outer island about the transportation costs used during this festive season.

Director Transport Francis Kinivuwai says that the franchise schemes allow collaboration between private operators and government shipping.

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“The scheme is actually designed to encourage private vessel operators to provide the services because, without the subsidy, if we left it to them, the return on investment for them would be very low. Meaning, if they only rely on the passenger fare and the passenger freight, it won’t cover their operating costs.”

Kinivuwai says that government shipping currently serves two routes on the franchise, which are Yasawa, Beqa, and Vatulele.

“The reason being that none of the vessel operators have provided a tender for that. So they’ve only come in to support the scheme, but otherwise, most of their services are to provide services to the government development program or for charters.”

The government-funded franchise scheme enables connectivity and accessibility to markets, increasing economic activity and improving livelihoods on maritime islands.