A NEW shipping service for villages between Malau and Udu Point is expected to lessen travelling hours and transport woes.
Acting Commissioner Northern Alipate Bolalevu said the MV Sigavou would service the new route.
"There are a lot of agricultural products that need to be transported to main town centres and this new route will make it easier for villagers to take their produce to these places," he said.
"The route will start this month from Suva and then it'll make its way to Malau then onto Udu Point and then to Cikobia, Naqelelevu and then to Saqani."
Mr Bolalevu said about a thousand people would benefit from the service.
"For the tikina of Tawake alone, there are about five villages and they will all benefit from it.
"This will open the door to development in these areas."
The MV Sigavou was commissioned by the Prime Minister in February.
The ship is the first vessel to join the Government Shipping Service fleet after 29 years.
Rear Admiral Bainimarama had announced that the new barge could carry 20 passengers and was purchased from Malaysia at a cost of $US2.6million ($4.7m).
He said a second landing craft, with a 30-passenger capacity as well as cargo, would arrive from Malaysia this month.