The NSSP will ensure the provision of reliable, affordable and sustainable sea transport connectivity services for rural Papua New Guinea is met.
An estimated cost of K250, 000 has been approved for the implementation of the NSSP program, and will be spread over a five-year (5) period. An initial cost of K20 million will be available in the 2021 development budget.
Prime Minister, James Marape, said the Departments of Finance, Treasury, National Planning and Monitoring, PNG Ports Corporation and the National Maritime Safety Authority have all been directed to facilitate the establishment arrangements for the NSSP, and to be coordinated by the Department of Transport.
He said rural maritime communities in PNG are entitled to have a maritime transport system that is reliable, affordable and safe to access basic government services, and to facilitate economic activities.
“Most of our maritime provinces and communities rely on the sea and maritime transport as a means of survival and the provision of a proper shipping service is vital and also for the growth of our country.
“Nowadays, shipping companies whose businesses are profit driven and economically rely on larger volumes of cargo, are choosy and picky to serve routes and main provincial ports, which are profitable for their operations.”
“Therefore, rural maritime communities are deprived of regular shipping services resulting in loss of lives and economic activities,” said Prime Minister Marape.
The disbandment of the Government Shipping Authority’s Trawler Fleet in 1984 had severely disrupted regular sea transport to the rural maritime communities for the last 35 years.
“Lack of appropriate sea transport has forced people to rely on the banana boats (dinghies) for long distance travels, which has resulted in numerous maritime casualties and accidents,” Prime Minister Marape said.
“The Department of Transport in realizing this urgent need, to stimulate economic activity in isolated maritime communities, developed the NSSP to deliver safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable shipping services to connect rural Maritime Provinces of PNG.
“This program is one such vehicle of change that can provide a vibrant and sustainable shipping network, necessary to stimulate economic revenue generation at the rural areas of the country, to support the Government’s initiatives of growing the economy and revenue generation.”
The NSSP is being developed based on lessons learnt from the Government Shipping Authority (Government Trawler Fleet of the 1960s), the purchase and operation of vessels under the then Border Development Authority and the Shipping Franchise Program managed by the Department of Transport.
It is also captured in the National Transport Strategy and other international and local transport connectivity plans to support sea transport in the country.