By LUKE KAMA
THE lack of foreign exchange is making it difficult for a transport company like Trans Wonderland Ltd (TWL) to replace its trucks or order major spare parts from Australia and other countries.
Larry Andagali, managing director of TWL,said yesterday that replacing large carriers was becoming a major issue for the company.
“The issue of shortage in foreign currency in the country really continues to be a very serious problem for us,” he said.
“Asset replacement is becoming a major issue because we cannot transfer money to Australia to buy Western Star trucks because of the shortage of foreign currency liquidity.
“Every year we need three new trucks in terms of maintaining our assets and that’s about K1 million each.
“When you add the trailers, it’s close to K5 million and to convert that into US dollars at the banks, it’s a real problem now and it takes five to six months.”
Andagali said in the past, payments were made on the same day because there was enough foreign reserve at central bank.
“Last year, we ordered two trucks for 2017 and six trucks for 2018 but truck makers cannot start building until they receive all the cash,” he said.
“Payments cannot be completed because there is not enough foreign reserve and we have been in the queue for over six months and not sure how long it will take.
“We were lucky last year that we had some US dollars on our offshore account so we used that to purchase five new trucks.”
Andagali said the poor condition of the Highlands Highway resulted in most of their prime movers being damaged and they needed new parts to be ordered from overseas.
“Like the car trailer, we cannot find them on the shelves in the country,” he said.
“It needs to be built overseas and imported, but to purchase it, it costs close to a million kina and so we have to place our order and wait in the queue again for six to seven months because of the shortage of foreign currency.
“The delays are greatly affecting our productivity and I understand other companies and business are facing similar situations with buying and importing overseas.”
TWL is one of the major transport and logistics companies in the country,
By LUKE KAMA