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The first shipment of 49 containers arrived in Port Moresby from Lae this week as part of the Marape-Steven Government’s economic stimulus for local farmers affected during the COVID-19 shutdown period.
The State and Bismark Maritime Limited (BML) signed an agreement (on 27th April 2020) authorised by the COVID-19 State of Emergency Controller for a new freight subsidy program. Government also presented a funding of K3 million to BML in support of the agreement.
The agreement means farmers and suppliers of fresh produce and vegetables in the Highlands Region and Morobe can ship their produce from Bismark’s Lae port to Port Moresby free of freight charge for a duration of 6 months.
On Wednesday 13th May 2020 Minister for National Planning Hon Samuel H Basil and Department Secretary Koney Samuel witnessed the first cargo unloaded at the Port Moresby port facility at Motukea.
With the Government’s subsidized freight cost, Minister Basil urged the suppliers to pass on the reduced costs and financial relief down to the consumers at the markets.
Two local suppliers, Steven Pat and Rodney Kuk who were there to collect their bags of kaukau and cabbages thanked Minister Basil for this vital government intervention, saying it relieved local farmers of some financial burdens during these tough economic times.
Bismark Maritime Port Moresby Branch Manager, Doug Maskelyne said they expect the number of containers being shipped to increase by the week.
Minister Basil called on MP’s from the Highlands Provinces to use some DSIP money to assist their farmers pack the containers with goods for shipment to buyers in Port Moresby.