Small island states in the Pacific are expected to demand improved shipping services when they meet in Tonga this week.
Pacific ministers for maritime transport in the small island states, or SIS, are meeting to talk about issues such as the need for improved regional shipping services and lower freight costs.
The SIS group at the meeting will include Kiribati, Tuvalu, and Nauru, Niue, Marshall Islands, Cook Islands, Palau, Wallis & Futuna and French Polynesia.
Previously the Secretariat of the Pacific Community has recommended a purpose-built,donor supplied ship, hub ports and regional shipping commissions to regulate services across the Pacific.
Shipping services are critically important to SIS countries given their high dependency on imports.