Govt Renews K3m Contract With Bismark Maritime
The State, through the Ministry of National Planning and Monitoring, has renewed its contract with K3million given to Bismark Maritime Limited for the Freight Subsidy Scheme.
The first phase of the scheme lapsed on the 10th of August.
Minister Sam Basil yesterday said the effects of this pandemic will be here for the rest of the year hence has funded K3m for the second phase of this scheme.
Mr Basil said the second phase of this freight subsidy program will be a 75:25 arrangement where the National Government will subsidise 75 per cent of the freight cost from Lae to Port Moresby for both dry and reefer containers while shippers will pay 25 per cent only.
He said the program started at the time of the first Covid-19 lockdown and state of emergency (SOE) period to ship vegetables and agriculture produce that were piling up in Lae Wharf.
“With the SOE Controller’s approval, the government through the Department of National Planning and Monitoring entered into a six months agreement with Bismark Shipping Limited to ship fresh produce from the Highlands and Momase regions to be freighted from Lae to Port Moresby meeting the city demands,” he said.
The first four months of the first phase saw Bismark executed 14 voyages carrying a total of 912 containers with each container that has the capacity to hold 100 to 110 bags.
This includes 629 dry containers carrying Kaukau, taro and other dry goods and 283 reefers carrying fresh vegetable, fruits and other perishables.
“From the statistics that we have been managing over this period we have shipped over 100,320 bags of fresh produce and vegetables from Lae to Port Moresby with the market value of over K15m.
This is 500 per cent return on investment for only three months period that we have been managing this program,” Basil said.
He claimed that this program is injecting direct cashback to the rural communities.
Mr Basil said the second phase will run from August to December with 75 per cent of the cost being subsidised will also include other provinces and maritime districts.
“The Marape Government notes the importance of developing the whole supply chain process of the fresh produce sector as part of our efforts in empowering our local communities, creating employment, and encouraging school leavers in cities to go back and farm the land to make money.
With this one intervention program, we have awoken a sleeping giant and we must continue to support and ensure it sustains itself into the future,” he said.