Governments considers investing in a container vessel


The government is entertaining a wholesale approach to minimize the merciless increase in freight costs and world petroleum prices blamed for provoking the uninvited increase in the local cost of living and inflation.

Savali reported the plan in its infant stages was floated in Parliament this week by Transport and Shipping Minister Olo Fiti Vaai in addressing concerns and criticisms levelled at the Government for its lack of initiatives to address public concerns.

Among the initiatives that the Government’s Transport, Shipping and Energy Sectors are looking into is the long-term investment to secure and own a container vessel. The aim is to minimize the impact of imports provoked by the astronomical costs in international freight costs. 

In announcing the proposal, the Minister told the House the latest data shows that freight costs have shot through the roof since international borders opened with the COVID-19 pandemic slowly fading out.

For instance, the Minister recalled that three years ago freight costs to ship a 20ft container were a little over $3,000 but today it has jumped to close to $5,000.

Similarly, the freight costs for a 40ft container is now almost double at over $7,000.

And Olo predicts that the freight fees increase which is beyond Samoa’s control will continue to soar and unless the Government steps in, residents and businesses will remain as collateral damage and at the mercy of international costs and tariff. 

He said that Government’s resolve is to address issues on the local front which will help minimize the added costs.  And Samoa owning her own container vessel transport imports and minimizing shipping costs for her exports is a viable option.

“Cabinet will be requested to authorize the appropriate sectors to start the ball rolling in securing a container vessel,” the Minister of Works, Infrastructure and Transport reassured Parliament.

SOURCE: Savali