Ministry of Infrastructure and Development (MID) Permanent Secretary, Henry Murray has clarified to calls to give new shipping company’s a chance under the Franchise Shipping Services (FSS).
Concern has been raised on the vessel Vatud Star, be given equal chance to operate under the franchise shipping arrangement.
Vatud Star is owned by Vatud constituency in Temotu under it’s newly establish shipping company now servicing the Temotu outer islands.
PS Murray welcomes the call and concern, there is no harm submitting a bid to the tender process which everyone is entailed to follow.
However there are set criteria’s and procedures to their approval thus it sure goes through panels to get approval and not a one off yes, he said.
Murray said Franchise Shipping Service (FSS) was established purposely to serve shipping routes in the country that are uneconomical and is being funded for by Asia Development Bank (ADB) and Solomon Islands Government (SIG).
He explained that FSS routes are normally tendered out to the public and shipping operators who are interested to operate these routes under an arranged subsidised scheme.
“All the FSS routes are put out on public tenders and shipping operators are welcome to submit their bids.
“After closing of the tenders the public and bidders are free to attend and witness the opening of tenders by Central Tender Board usually at the Ministry of Finance and Treasury leaf hut.
“A technical evaluation committee at MID then evaluates the tenders and their recommendation will be submitted to at the Ministry level, Ministry Tender Board for endorsement before submitting it back to the Compliance Division at the Ministry of Finance and Treasury,” explained the Permanent Secretary.
PS Murray added when the Compliance Division is satisfied that necessary procurement processes are being complied with.
That is in the process of tendering, they will further submit the recommendations to the Central Tender Board for their subsequent awarding of the contract to the winning bidder, he explains further.
He then clarified that some of the important criteria’s to be considered in evaluating FSS tender bids are the suitability of the vessel and the experience of the shipping operator.
“It’s designed and intended to carry both cargoes and passengers at call points often without wharves.
“Any vessel that is designed to carry cargoes only is not be suitable to operate the FSS,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary then explained why Vatud Star did not get approval.
“The reason why Vatud Star was not recommended for the Franchise Shipping Service for Temotu Outer Islands route is, the ship is not suitable for carrying both cargo and passengers.
“They are also very new in the shipping industry and lack the necessary experience to operate the FSS routes.
“Vatud Star is welcome to submit its bid after it acquires the necessary experience when the current contract for FSS7 expires,” said the PS Murray.
By BRADFORD THEONOMI