18 Jul 2005

Talks continue to resolve Marshall Islands looming mail shutdown

8:36 pm on 18 July 2005

Marshall Islanders are reported to be bracing themselves for a shutdown in the mail delivery service from next week.

This follows the sub-contractor, Asia Pacific Airlines, pulling out of the service after failing to reach an agreement with Continental Airlines and the U.S. Postal service, which is responsible for delivery, over sky-rocketing fuel prices.

Our correspondent, Giff Johnson, says there was a mail shut down previously, about four years ago.

But, he says people are hoping the problem can be averted and that next week, there won't be a complete end to the service.

"Continental is able to carry some mail to the Marshall Islands but, presumably it cannot carry the volumes that are needed, so the postal service is either going to have come up with a new cargo contractor, or we're not going to be getting mail very regularly."

Giff Johnson says discussions are continuing between the U.S. postal service and Continental airlines.

And, he says the government is putting pressure on the U.S. to honour its commitment for mail delivery services under the Compact of Free Association.