7 Mar 2011

Freight rate reductions will help Tonga's outer island economies

8:01 pm on 7 March 2011

The Tongan government has initiated freight rate cuts to make it more affordable for producers on the outer islands to sell their goods on the main island.

Wharfage fees for cargo are being cut by 65 percent, and freight rates will decrease in-line with that.

Viliami Vi, the head of the Friendly Islands' Shipping Agency, which serves Tonga through its new inter-island ferry, says a reduction in wharfage fees will make a big difference.

"Will help us, the local cargoes, local ferries here in Tonga to be able to run. At the moment it costs a lot of money just to fuel the boats, and also the cost of running it."

Viliami Vi.

The government will also stop foreign vessels carrying domestic goods unless they are licensed to do so.