Business slows down

Yaqona farms in Taveuni. Picture: FT FILE

THE economic flow of business on Taveuni has slowed down following disruption to shipping services, claims Taveuni advisory councillor Ravindra Kumar.

Exporters, business community and farmers have felt the pinch of the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji’s decision, describing the situation as stagnant.

Mr Kumar claimed business had slowed and income for taxi operators had also dropped. However, the major concern, he said, was the supply of fuel and food for the people on Taveuni.

“I hope we don’t run out of fuel and food from supermarkets, especially basic food items because stock is brought in from Suva,” Mr Kumar said.

“We depend on these shipping services to bring in supply to the island.”

Taxi services, Mr Kumar said, had also been affected.

“The people of Taveuni also depend on these shipping services for movement of people in and out of Taveuni and taxis depend on this for income.

“Even the public needs to reorganise their travel plans to Viti Levu and travel through Natuvu then to Nabouwalu.

“So it’s difficult for the communities on this island but we hope it’s resolved soon.”

Other business owners contacted but preferred to remain anonymous said stock in supermarkets may last for the next two weeks.

“But we need to bring in more food especially rice, flour and sugar and it comes directly from Suva on the Goundar ships that service Taveuni.”

Early this week, MSAF stopped all services by Goundar Shipping, stating that the company had failed to comply with the Maritime Regulation 2014 (Safe Ships Management System).

They had instead urged members of the public to make necessary travel arrangements with shipping companies that had complied with the SSMS.

Some of these companies are Patterson Brothers Shipping Ltd, Victoria Marine Ltd, Valesasa Transportation Company, Government Shipping Services, Naos Shipping Ltd, South Sea Cruises, Captain Cook Cruises, IME Capital, Leeward Operations, Amex Engineering Ltd and others.

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