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Cargo vessels ‘remain on schedule’

Wednesday March 25, 2020 Written by Published in Economy
Liloa II is scheduled to visit Rarotonga with supplies earlier next month. 20032413 Liloa II is scheduled to visit Rarotonga with supplies earlier next month. 20032413

Freight shipping schedules for the Cook Islands in the coming month will not be affected by the coronavirus crisis.

 

While a number of flights have been cancelled due to the outbreak, cargo ships bringing in supplies will continue uninterrupted in the coming weeks.

Excil Shipping Limited manager Maru Apera said “at the moment, it’s business as usual” for them. Excil is the local agent for Matson Shipping.

Transam Cook Islands, the agents for Transam, said: “all cargo ships are on schedule this and next month.”

Olomana arrived in Rarotonga at the weekend. There will be two cargo ships visiting Rarotonga and Aitutaki next month – Liloa II on April 9 and 11 and Olomana on April 18 and 21, respectively.

The two leading supermarkets said they have stocked up to ensure there is enough goods to last them during this time.

Given Cook Islands remoteness, Daniel Forsyth, managing director of Primefoods, said they always stock up for two to three months in advance.

“Supermarkets in Australia and sometimes in New Zealand, they order their goods on the day, they don’t have massive storages like we do here,” Forsyth said.

“But we can understand some people prefer to do shopping once a week.”

Gaye Whitta, CITC’s general manager, also said they have a lot of stock and will be able to provide goods to their customers for a couple of months. 

However Whitta said there would be some items that they would run short of, but there will always be an alternative product. 

“The country will not run out of food. We have just had two ships in and the next ship is due here in two weeks’ time,” Whitta said.

“The island will be fine so people do not need to panic buy. We encourage our customers to buy a few extra tins of food to store away just in case the government goes to Code Red.”

CITC have strict hygiene practices already in place for all fresh produce, said Whitta, adding extra care has been given to ensuring that they minimise the handling of these products.

“We are now setting up a system to pre-package the majority of our produce to minimise the handling of the product should we go to Code-Red.”