Call for Maritime Provinces to participate in the Shipping Fare Review

28/06/2012 14:50

The Council is calling on the Maritime Province to participate in the review of shipping fare review to make their voice heard. Maritime Provinces should make submission to Fiji Commerce Commission because consumers in outer islands are greatly affected.

The Council has been receiving complaints against shipping companies for poor service delivery. These include passengers stranded despite holding valid tickets, overloaded ships, passengers offloaded in the middle of the journey and asked to find their own transportation to travel to their destination, lost luggage, disregarding class of travel, change of schedule without notice, failing to provide refund and compensation to consumers for trips cancelled, delay in departure times, high fare, overcrowding, poor and inhumane conditions of the vessels and general disregard for consumer redress and consumer safety.

Shipping services is extremely important for Maritime Provinces as this is the only means of transportation for most of them. These services are also essential for sustaining the livelihoods of the people residing in outer islands. Consumers in outer islands are dependent on shipping services to transport produce such as dalo and copra and to receive essential food items from the mainland.

Inconsistent shipping services unfortunately contribute to rise in price of goods sold on the islands and consumers once again lose out by digging deeper in their pockets. Traders in the Lau Group due to poor shipping services were recently reported of increasing price of goods such as flour, sugar, soap and kerosene.

All consumers have right to receive the highest possible standard of service from public and private sector service providers regardless of consumers affordability and irrespective of whether they live in an urban or rural area.

As the comprehensive study is being undertaken by Fiji Commerce Commission, the Council is hopeful to see positive changes in the maritime service that was long overdue.

The Council will be making its submission to FCC and encourages consumers to come forward with their concerns, suggestions and recommendations.