16 Nov 2011

Tonga says Jaws' Vava'u shipping service will be cheaper

7:34 pm on 16 November 2011

Tonga's Minister of Transport says a local shipping company has been granted the exclusive right to provide a shipping service between Vava'u and Auckland.

Samiu Vaipulu says the government has agreed to an arrangement with the Jaws Shipping Company to service the route, starting with a one year trial basis.

He says the main motivation behind the move is to improve Tonga's economy and provide more opportunities.

"We want investors to invest in our local people to develop our economy. So far, there has been nothing. And the freight from New Zealand on Reef was about 6,000 paaga one way. Now people are benefitting. Those that have shipped on Jaws have proven that it's cheaper."

Samiu Vaipulu says the government is still in the process of informing stakeholders of the decision to formally end Reef Shipping's service.

Reef, which is a New Zealand company, has been operating the link for more than a decade.