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Quality, efficiency top franchise requirements

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

"GOVERNMENT usually emphasises quality and efficiency of services in its franchise shipping scheme."

This was the response from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport regarding concerns raised by Goundar Shipping Services, which had ceased its franchise service to Rotuma in April.

Goundar Shipping Services company director George Goundar said the way franchise services were awarded was quite unfair and there were a few matters that needed to be taken into consideration.

"They should take a few matters into consideration like the size of the vessel, its capacity and capability but this is something they never take seriously," Mr Goundar said.

"This was why we ceased services to Rotuma in April because what they gave us was just not enough considering that our boat was quite big and it catered for more than just passengers and cargoes but vehicles as well.

"If they review rates, we will reconsider servicing the island again."

He said the people on the island of Rotuma were suffering because irregular shipping services had forced them to travel on MV Brianna, which now caters for the island's monthly franchise run.

The ministry said the emphasis on the current condition was on quality and efficiency of services, apart from other requirements such as vessel description, vessel capacity, company details such as directorship and shareholding.

It said reviews were always done but every request could not be dealt with individually but holistically considering this was a scheme. The ministry had also undertaken a review for 2017 and the issues raised had been considered but this was subject to Cabinet's decision.

According to the ministry, the request from Mr Goundar to review the rates was not justified with supporting data and financials, adding it was merely a blanket request.

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