Samoan Government acquires Pacific Forum Line


The Samoan Government has this week announced the take over of Pacific Forum Line. <!--more-->

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The shipping company was founded almost 35 years ago in 1978 to serve the freighting needs of the Pacific Islands region. The idea was to connect the island nations to maintain and grow their trade links cost efficiently for their mutual economic development.

Between themselves, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and New Zealand owned nearly 75 per cent of the company though eleven Forum Island Countries and New Zealand had equal voting rights. In recent years, though, the line had been struggling financially and operated its routes by codeshares with other shipping companies.

Over the past several years, its services were also progressively curtailed. Shipping industry sources attribute poor decision-making, the lack of capitalisation and the global financial crisis for the company’s plight.

Pacific Forum Line’s board met in Tonga earlier this month amid reports that the company was likely to be sold to Singapore headquartered shipping firm Sofrana. But the Samoan Government stepped in and though it had only 8 per cent of the shares, exercised its right to acquire the rest from the other shareholders. The decision was made last month.

In purchasing the company, the Samoan Government said it made the move because shipping is the lifeline of Samoa’s economic development. It reiterated its commitment to the shipping company’s original objectives of rendering regular, economical shipping services to the Forum Island Countries.

Though acknowledged the acquisition with a press release, the Samoan Government did not reveal financial details of the transaction.