Over the past couple of days there has been a deafening silence from the Ministry of Transport regarding the shipping industry issues raised in the Cook Islands News.
There has been strong rhetoric and criticism levelled at the
Transport Ministry and little response.
It is important for the Cook Islands to have robust
transport system especially in air and sea.
As an island nation both the above modes are important for
the countries continued growth and survival.
Whilst we have good air services for passengers and freight
with a competitive element the same cannot be said for the shipping services.
A monopolistic shipping service exists.
Not only that it appears to not have a current licence. Why
It also appears the terms and conditions of the outdated
licence were not available for importers and exporters to read.
Amazingly, it was reported, the tariff schedules appear to
be lost and no one can find them.
Quite a shambolic position for such an important element in
the transport system.
What would we do without a shipping service? The issue needs
to be rectified and can, in my opinion –
1) The regulators need to ensure a valid licence is in place
with appropriate tariff schedules attached and such licence should be made
available to importers and exporters upon request. No "smoke and
2) Attract a second shipping line to service the Cook
Islands which should allow for a more competitive shipping service.
We remember the days of bad shipping services in the Cook
We should now be looking to move forward and looking for
opportunities to improve our shipping services.