THE impact of Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) ongoing reform on business activities has forced Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to take a stand to deal with the situation.
He made the promise to address the situation when meeting with the General Manager of the Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Limited (GPPOL) Andrew Kerr and General Manager of National Fisheries Development (NFD) Frank Wickham.
These two companies are main ports users in Honiara and Noro.
A statement from the Prime Ministers Office yesterday said, Mr Kerr and Mr Wickham requested the meeting in an effort to find a way forward to the current situation at the Honiara and Noro ports.
The situation became unbearable for the two firms following the new port and tariff charges imposed on businesses.
As a result of the increase charges is having a detrimental impact on their operations.
The new port tariffs and charges come as the Solomon Islands Ports Authority continues with its reform programme under its Singaporean Chief Executive Office Colin Yow.
Mr Kerr told the Prime Minister that port tariffs and charges have dramatically increased in the last 12 months whilst port service efficiency plummeted.
He said ships are attracting excessive demurrage fees to the point where exporters are losing money on shipments of their products and furthermore shipping lines are refusing to come to Honiara and instead trans-ship into smaller vessels at ports such as Lae in Papua New Guinea to come to Solomon Islands.
He said this situation leads towards the possible closure of GPPOL and a reduced revenue and reputation for Solomon Islands.
In the case of Soltuna, Mr Wickham said the company also has issues with the increased port tariffs and charges.
He said, tuna prices are set at the world market hence any increase in port tariffs and charges will have to be absorbed by the company as they cannot pass on to the market and remain competitive.
In response, Prime Minister acknowledged the concerns raised by Mr Kerr and Mr Wickham and assured them that he will deal with the situation.
“Thank you for bringing your concerns to me. I will deal with the situation before it gets out of hand.”
Also present at the meeting was Mr Eliam Tanirongo who is a director of GPPOL. He also serves as the Chairman of the Public Service Commission.
Its understood many businesses have also expressed concern over the Ports charges.
This week poultry farmers have also expressed their concern over the delay in discharging of feeds from a boat which is still anchored off Point Cruz.
It was revealed, due to ports procedures, the boat was unable to berth in order to unload the boats.
The situation may soon see egg supply going down.