MOST vessels servicing Fiji are poorly maintained, old and inefficient.
And fuel represents a significant proportion of shipping operating costs for those vessels.
Accessing financing is difficult for shipping operations, this results in a vicious cycle of old ships being replaced with old ships, and the need for larger ships to achieve economies of scale.
This was highlighted during the International Conference for Renewable Energy and Climate Change by USP's John Kaitu'u.
Mr Kaitu'u said narrow reef passages combined with small cargoes and low passenger numbers lead to many routes being commercially marginal or even unviable.
"Government is often required to subsidise or service these routes if communities are to have access to transport," Mr Kaitu'u said.
"We have prepared a regional and education strategy, a medium-term work plan designed to be complementary to existing regional transport, energy, climate change and economic development strategies.
"The lack of profile to date on renewable energy transport allows us the opportunity to learn from the lessons of the electricity sector and to develop a region-wide co-ordinated and monitored program of transition."
Issues that were discussed during the conference were an assessment of wave energy resource in the West Pacific, potential of energy production from municipal solid wastes in Fiji and zero emission fishing.