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Ports Authority Chief remains President, Maritime conference closes

Samoa has retained the Presidency and Secretariat seats on the Pacific Maritime Transport Alliance (P.T.M.A.) Executive Council.

The re-election of Samoa Ports Authority C.E.O., So'oalo Kuresa So'oalo, as the President follows the conclusion of the 44th P.M.T.A. two-day conference at the T.A.T.T.E. building where representatives from 22 countries participated. 

So'oalo said the meeting came up with many positive ideas to develop the industry.

"Another resolution from the conference includes the gathering and combining of the challenges from each participating ports so that one appeal can be made to the development partners, for example, A.D.B. or J.I.C.A. so we can tap into where we are able to access assistance for the Pacific," he said.

So'oalo said the main challenge among the member counties of the Alliance remains financing and funding of projects for the improvements of ports.

"The number one challenge is the lack in resources and funding of big projects unless assistance is brought in from banks or overseas. But this is always the challenge, its funding," he said.

"One of the important aspects of the conference is that most of the ports and companies that attended now have close network in terms of easy access between the them. 

"If anyone needs equipment that someone else has, they can communicate and sort out an arrangement."

So'oalo added the notion for a Pacific women in maritime association to be established will be driven by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community through discussions.

Glyn Joshua, Manager Commercial of the Solomon Islands Ports Authority, spoke on the significance of the conference.

"I think the major thing to understand is that having partnership in the Pacific is very important, we are a small nation, small countries, we cannot do it alone, no man is an island. 

"We need to actually back each other up and see how we can help each other in the long run. Because if we do it alone, you severe ties and you lose out. But working together in small economies like ours in the Pacific, such meetings do put us together and actually promote our business in the South Pacific," he said.

Director for the Vanuatu Ifira Port Development & Services Co. Ltd, Jeffery Tokataake, does not regret joining the conference.

"Coming to this conference is very good, it’s very informative and we learnt a lot of information both about starting from techniques with how they run the wharf management to the equipment. 

"And its learning from different experiences and getting and giving information from different ports and the Pacific which helps us go back and address issues and performances and stuff," he said.

In his closing remarks, Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Papali'i Niko Lee Hang, acknowledged P.T.M.A. for giving Samoa an opportunity to host the event and trusting them to carry on their roles in the executive council.

The 2020 45th P.M.T.A. annual conference will be held in Nauru, while Kiribati will host the 2021 annual conference.

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