New hope for outer islands

Wednesday January 29, 2020 Written by Published in Outer Islands
George Goundar’s company is expanding fast in Fiji and now Cook Islands.  FIJI SUN 20012846 George Goundar’s company is expanding fast in Fiji and now Cook Islands. FIJI SUN 20012846

The tender to procure shipping charter service for the outer islands closes next week, and a Fiji shipping company has signalled interest.

Goundar Shipping Ltd is to send a proposal to the Cook Islands Government to operate in the Cook Islands, providing charter and cargo services to the Pa Enua.

Financial secretary Garth Henderson says the request for proposals for all shipping companies are still under consideration. The tender closes on February 7.

According to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management, the country needs regular shipping services to transport bulk cargo and passengers to and from the Pa Enua islands, both the Northern and Southern group islands.

The proposal for shipping companies to operate in the country is for 18 months.

Managing director George Goundar said he was interested in sending a proposal to government and hoped to be expanding operations out of Fiji.

Goundar told the Fiji Sun they had expanded in Fiji with nine vessels, including a jetfoil and a hovercraft, and they were now looking to invest in other Pacific markets.

Earlier this month, Henderson said government would intervene to ensure the provision of domestic shipping services, as the market had failed the people of the outer islands.

The economic development of the Pa Enua was affected by poor shipping services, he said.

This came after the removal of Taio Shipping’s passenger licences, and the inability of a Tongan ship to dock in heavy weathers, leaving passengers stranded over the Christmas and New Year period.

Tenderers can register their interest on Cook Islands Government’s E-Government Procurement portal. Tender documents are available there. 

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