By ELIZABETH VUVU
THE least-developed area of southern New Ireland now has a regular shipping service offering freight charges that are reduced by about half.
This could be a breakthrough in the economic development of the area which is known as the las kona (last corner).
The development was announced recently in the New Ireland 2010 budget.
After successful negotiations with the provincial government and the Asian Development Bank, the maiden voyage was launched within a month of the special arrangements with the first ship sailing into Danfu last Wednesday for a trial run.
Governor Sir Julius Chan said the ship would complete a route covering Rei, Morokon and Bakok and around the southern tip to Lambom, Kaboman, Eatpi and Palabong in the Konoagil area before sailing into Rabaul on what was contracted to be a monthly shipping service.
“This is the first such service offered to the forgotten part of the province.
The cost for freight and passenger fare have been slashed by almost half to enable the people to enjoy greater price benefits.
“This is a great freight and subsidy package, making Konoagil comparable to Namatanai and Kavieng,” Sir Julius said.
He said construction work on the Weilo-Silur Road on the east coast of Namatanai was was in progress and workers also returned from the festive holiday to work on the Burukalai-Palabong and Burukalai-Kokola link on the west.
The slashed prices are:
Cocoa K20/ bag K10/bag
Copra K15/bag K10/bag
Cargo K65/ m3 K40/m3
Adults K60 K40
Students K45 K25
Children K30 K15