20 Sep 2005

High fuel prices hit Fiji shipping

8:31 am on 20 September 2005

Fiji's inter-island shipping industry has been badly hit by high fuel costs and stagnant freight charges.

The Fiji Times reports that three inter-island vessels, two of them owned by provincial councils, have stopped operating.

The Kadavu and Lomaiviti provincial councils have called on the government to subsidise their operating costs if services are to remain viable.

The secretary of the Local Shipowners' Association, Leo Smith, says his members would meet on Wednesday 21st September to discuss the issue.

Mr Smith says despite repeated representations to the government over 15 years to revise sea freight costs, nothing has been done.