PRESIDENT Ratu Epeli Nailatikau has officially renamed the container vessel Reef Nauru, the Mana.
Ratu Epeli said Fiji, as a result of its central and strategic location in the Pacific, is an ideal hub for the transshipment of goods and dependent on ships calling here on a regular basis to facilitate trade.
The vessel, which is owned by Matson South Pacific Limited under Matson Incorporation, was renamed at the Kings Wharf a week ago.
Ratu Epeli said Fiji was grateful to the company, considered a leading US carrier in the Pacific, for taking time out from its big Hawaii/US business to look further into the Pacific and in Fiji's direction.
"Scheduling Mana to operate from Fiji carrying exports to Wallis and Futuna, Funafuti, Tarawa, Majuro in the Marshall Islands, Honiara, Santo and Villa in Vanuatu, will undoubtedly contribute to the economy in Fiji," he said.
"The rippling effects of these trips will be felt in the areas where pilots and tugs and stevedore labour are hired, where fuel and supplies are purchased, where trucking services are engaged and where fees are paid to the various statutory bodies."Ratu Epeli said those trips would afford Fiji a further opportunity to consider exporting its products and be part of the global trade, the benefits of which were virtually unlimited.
"Fiji being the hub of the Pacific means our ports have the role and responsibility of ensuring that the shipment of products and services are safe, efficient and with short turnaround times, so as to create a service reputation that is not only of benefit to Fiji but also to the other countries of the region," he added.