The shipping sector needs support
PNG Seafarers Association President Gehasa Gegesana, speaking at the meeting, stressed that the government should consider enacting a maritime ministry that could prioritize the functioning of the maritime industry.
He said the reason was that the Maritime is one of the components of the transport sector, which has been marginalized in many cases in terms of resource allocation as the government focuses more on roads.
Gegesana said the government should also consider reviving the PNG Shipping Corporation, which was slowed down a few years ago, as he explained that PNG has the capacity to operate and manage ships.
“If the shipping company comes into existence, and if we run a small fleet under the company, we can subsidize freight, we can go to small ports to make our lives easier, we just need government support.”
“There is a lot of money under the national transport strategy, but most of it is spent on the connect PNG road project,” he said.
The subcommittee heard that churches are also active partners in the delivery of maritime services, given their track record, such as the Lutheran Maritime Services, which provided services to small ports serving isolated and remote communities.
The Sub-Committee which heard presentations from various stakeholders in the maritime transport sector noted that active coordination and collaboration among relevant stakeholders and partners is so crucial to improving service delivery, including participation inclusive of people with disabilities, disadvantaged communities, youth, women and especially provincial governments. One such critical need is marine infrastructure like jetties, designation of berthing bays for various types of ships and boats, provision of navigational aids, etc.
National Affairs Institute director Paul Barker added that one of the notable strategies was for all agricultural roads and marine infrastructure like jetties to be connected to provincial government and other land use planning systems. durability and accessibility.
This was to ensure that infrastructure is built to serve its practical purpose, as without proper planning and investigation, some infrastructure can lie dormant which is a waste of resources.
Meanwhile, it was revealed at the meeting that the development of the freight subsidy policy framework by the Ministry of Transport has been handicapped by the diversion of its budget allocation to other sectors.
The sub-committee urged relevant agencies to work together on the “Freight Transportation Subsidy Policy” as it is such an important initiative.
If the government endorses this policy and allocates resources for effective implementation, it would go a long way towards improving the livelihoods of over 80 percent of the country’s population who are heavily dependent on rural agriculture.
The subcommittee encouraged everyone to put aside their differing interests to move forward on high impact project initiatives like this.