August 28, 2015
News Update
Commission review of shipping in Micronesia
The Micronesian Shipping Commission (MSC) held its annual meeting in the FSM State of Yap recently to review the performances of eight vessel operating common carriers (VOCCs) and seven non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs) licensed to operate commercial international shipping service to and from Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands. This is the first annual review of a five-year licensing cycle which started in 2014 with the renewal of licenses for all of the carriers in the MSC Entry Assurance System. The commission said it was generally pleased with the current state of international commercial shipping service in the region taking into account the vast improvements in the efficiency of service in terms of frequency and cargo security as well as availability of choice of carriers for the shippers in the region. The commission noted that with the exception of fuel surcharges which the carriers applied to their base rates during peak periods of fuel price escalations, there were no increases in the basic freight rates applicable in the region in the past seven years.
Read more about this in the September 4, 2015
edition of the Marshall Islands Journal
Rear Admiral salutes the RMI
Port security in the Marshall Islands is key to US national security, US Coast
Guard Rear Admiral Vincent Atkins, pictured, said during a visit to Majuro this week. “From the US perspective, port security is important,”
he said, noting that a number of vessels sail between RMI and US ports. “The US focus is on understanding our partners’ ability to secure their ports — it is an extension of our national security.” Atkins, who oversees the 14th Coast District that covers the entire Pacific, said the “RMI is a great partner.” He complemented the RMI’s focus on port security efforts. He also pointed out the crucial nature of ports to emergency management. “Emergency management in island nations hinges on ports being resilient,” Atkins said. He talked about the heavy damage sustained by Saipan in recent typhoons, and pointed out that getting the port back into operation was critical to restoring services to the entire island. Atkins also offered praise for last week’s emergency exercise, which used the scenario of an airplane crash into the ocean. “Everyone needs a search and rescue plan that includes an ocean plan,” he said. “Fantastic lessons were learned (from the exercise).” For Atkins, the key point in search and rescue is ensuring the response time is as fast as possible and how to synchronize the response to save lives.
US mail bottlenecks in Guam, and a United States Postal Service (USPS) directive preventing RMI Postal Service board members from attending annual meetings held for post office officials in the freely associated states were key issues discussed at Wednesday’s Marshall Islands Chamber of Commerce meeting. The meeting also sparked disagreement about the flow of mail to the RMI, and discussed why delivery from Guam appears to be slow. Another key development is the USPS canceling responsibility for mail delivery between Majuro and Ebeye, with the RMI Postal Service taking over with the provision of a subsidy by the RMI Cabinet. In speaking
about the Guam mail delivery issue, RMI Postal board member Mike Slinger, pictured, said, “USPS doesn’t tell us why priority mail is routed through Guam from the mainland.” Mail from Hawaii comes directly to Majuro. He also pointed out that both incoming and outgoing
mail volumes have tripled in the past year. Customers have complained about delays in delivery of mail from Guam to Majuro, while generally mail from Hawaii is delivered quickly. “We keep asking, but they don’t tell us why mail is being sent from the mainland to Guam (for delivery to RMI),” Slinger said, adding that US Ambassador Tom Armbruster has also written the USPS without effect. Slinger was standing in for Postmaster Heran Bellu, who was advertised as the featured speaker for the Chamber, but declined to appear. It was pointed out that the RMI Postal Service comes under the President’s Office, and it was suggested that the President’s Office could engage the US Embassy through Foreign Affairs to get the USPS to respond on these issues of concern. When the RMI sent board members to attend freely associated state postal meetings called by the USPS, US officials denied RMI board members access to the meetings, but did allow them to attend the functions after the meetings, said postal board member Casten Nemra. “RMI is the only entity (in Micronesia) with a board,” he said. “The two meetings we’ve sent a board member to, they were not allowed to attend executive meetings. We submitted complaints about this, but USPS didn’t answer us.”
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Hospital shutdown – All medical services in Majuro, Ebeye and the outer islands — except for emergency services — will be shut down Friday unless a crisis between the Public Service Commission and the Ministry of Health is ... See more