Despite the pandemic, the Government shipping franchise scheme continued to provide more than 250 trips.
The trips accommodated almost 19,000 passengers and more than 11,000 tonnes of cargo.
The scheme is a government-funded initiative that ensures the movement of cargo and passengers between our maritime islands.
Transport Minister Faiyaz Koya says while the past two years have not been normal in terms of shipping, they still strive to ensure that ships are still commuting to the islands to provide the necessary support.
“Despite the COVID-19 restrictions only on the transfer of cargo, the Fijian Government continues to pay the subsidies for the service of the uneconomical routes. And this continues with the 14 to 15 trips per month. This is how committed this government is to Shipping and our Maritime Islanders.”
Koya says apart from the direct subsidies paid by the Government to the private vessel operators, the Government Shipping Services also provides services to uneconomical routes such as
Yasawa, North East Vanua Levu, Beqa, Yanuca, Vatulele and Lower Southern Lau where the private sector is unable to service due to high maintenance of vessels and operating cost issues.
The Government has allocated more than $6 million budget to the GSS, with more than two million dollars allocated for maintenance and operations.