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No monopoly over shipping routes

April 30, 2013 1:03 am

Shipping companies that service economical routes around Fiji have denied that there is a monopoly.

During discussions between shipping companies and the government yesterday, it was highlighted that sailing between Viti Levu to Vanua Levu is somewhat profitable and is run by only select companies.

However, Patterson Brother Shipping Director, Trevor Patterson says there is no real monopoly in inter island shipping.

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“Fiji is a small place. Our passengers who leave from Suva all arrive at the same destination in Labasa. Passenegers have the choice to travel, whether they travel between Natovi and Nabouwalu or from Suva to Savusavu, they all arrive at the same destination. So there is no clear monopoly. Each company has to choose a route where it is most capable of surviving. This is why we have survived and we are here today.”

The poor condition of inter island vessels has caused many delays in services and boat owners say reduced taxes on parts and equipment would help.

“We can’t buy brand new ships, that would be around $US30 million, we can’t afford that. So all ship owners in Fiji have been purchasing second hand ships over the last 30/40 years. In this case, the ship is at the end of its economical life, the repairs, maintenance and running costs are there from day one. That’s why we asking the government that import of parts should be 100% duty free.”

Patterson Brothers Shipping owns the MV Spirit of Harmony which sails between Natovi, Savusavu, Nabouwalu and Ellington Wharf in Ra.

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