THE only wholly New Zealand-owned international shipping company will introduce its shipping services to Fiji next month.
New Zealand-based Reef Shipping announced last week its plans to introduce New Zealand/Fiji/Vanuatu shipping route services via its new ship Reef Fiji.
Reef Shipping, a sole service provider to certain key ports — including Niue, Aitutaki and Vavau, said the move was in line with the company's continuing program to match its fleet with customers' requirements.
Managing director Phillip McNicholl said deployment of the Reef Fiji to service the route, in particular operating an independent service to Fiji, marked a return to the company's regional roots.
The company established itself with a dedicated service between Auckland and Suva in the early 1970s under the direction of Tom McNicholl, father of the present managing director Phillip McNicholl.
"Tom's ships were called Fijian Swift, and Fijian. In renaming the new ship Reef Fiji we are paying our respects to the pioneering spirit that opened up these trades some 40 years ago," Mr McNicholl said.
Reef Fiji, a proven performer in shipping services is well suited to all types of cargo — be it containers, reefers, break bulk and project cargo.
"We are confident she will suit all customers' needs in these trades," Mr McNicholl said.
The vessel will arrive in Lautoka on October 30 marking its first sailing to the ship's 21-day port rotation to Tauranga, Auckland, Lautoka, Suva, Port Vila and Santo.
The vessel leaves Tauranga on October 22 and will be in Suva on October 31.
"These changes to our shipping services are part of our ongoing response to meet your needs," Mr McNicholl said.
In another development, the company acquired another vessel that will start its service from Fiji in its Pacific regional route.
Mr McNicholl said the company was celebrating its return to independence with the acquisition of a new ship.
Reef Shipping was recently part of a consortium.
The Reef Nauru II brings to six the number of vessels in the company's fleet, one of which is chartered.
Reef Shipping, which is New Zealand's independent service operator, said the Reef Nauru II would start its Fiji Micronesia service in November.
The vessel will deliver cargo from all points of origin in New Zealand, Australia and Asia to Wallis and Futuna Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, the Marshalls, Nauru and the Solomon Islands, Mr McNicholl said.
"Under the one size fits all approach of recent years, using joint venture tonnage, your specific requirements were sometimes hard to accommodate. Our new ship is more versatile and will allow us to serve you better," he said last week while announcing the move.
The Reef Nauru II is scheduled for its first sailing, which begins from Lautoka port, on November 3.
Reef Shipping has operated for the past 40 years providing shipping services from New Zealand and Australia into the Pacific Islands.