Ocean carrier Maersk Line announced earlier this month that it was immediately ending "acceptance of cargo" for Wallis and Futuna, and Vanuatu to and from worldwide.
"These changes follow an extensive review of the commercial and financial viability of our existing service offerings, including an analysis of anticipated future demand," the line said.
Maersk's statement in its Weekly Highlights
newsletter said "currently, there are no viable alternatives to service Wallis and Futuna, and Vanuatu."
Worried about the welfare of the 227,574 residents of Vanuatu and the 15,453 on Wallis and Futuna (we're getting the population estimates from the CIA Factbook
), American Shipper
contacted Chris Kernot, manager of FR8 Logistics, which calls itself the "leading freight forwarders, customs brokers, warehousing and logistics experts servicing the whole of Vanuatu."
"I do like using Maersk's services, as their platform is pretty good for quotes through to tracking and delivery to our clients, so it will be missed," he said. But he added Maersk is "not absolutely essential – we can still do things the old fashioned way, with just a little more frustration."
Maersk is "only one of a number of carriers who are able to offer transhipment services to Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna… so it only means that there is one less service provider for the first leg(s) of the shipments," Kernot added.
"Other carriers include Hamburg Sud, Swires (Vanuatu only), PIL, MSC, Carpenter Shipping (Vanuatu only) potentially. Any line can be encouraged to carry the first leg, providing they have faith in the second leg carrier to efficiently return the first carrier's equipment to a base port," he said.
Kernot said there are transhipment services via Auckland, Noumea or Fiji for Wallis and Futuna. For Vanuatu, the two prime carriers for on-carriage to Vanuatu are Pacific Direct Line (PIL) and Reef Shipping.
He also noted Vanuatu has direct services from Australia, New Zealand and Asia. - Chris Dupin