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Read the Marine Consultancy Case Study

About the company

Marine Consultancy Services is based in Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu, has 42 employees and has been operating a shipping/passenger service for seven years. Marine Consultancy Services provides scheduled services between Santo and the capital Port Vila and underserviced islands north of Santo, carrying general merchandise, agricultural products and passengers.

Total grant funding approved: ECF A$750,000

About the project

The ECF grant will enable Marine Consultancy Services to purchase a second vessel which will be used to provide transport of goods and passengers between Santo and Port Vila, and a separate schedule servicing 24 locations on the remote and under serviced islands of Epi, Ambrym, Malekula, Pentecost, Maewo, Gaua, Banks, Torres and Ambae. The project will also involve the establishment of supporting infrastructure such as wharves, storage and maintenance facilities in the remote areas serviced by the new vessel.

Results December 2012

  • A total of 18 new jobs have been created at Marine Consultancy Services.
  • Marine Consultancy Services operated 11 trips to Banks and Torres in 2010 but there was no significant increase in the outward freight from the islands. Freight volumes to the islands were impacted by increased competition on the route.
  • There are now 3 shipping/trading companies servicing the Banks and Torres island groups on a regular basis. While this has presented commercial difficulties for Marine Consultancy Services, local businesses and communities have greatly improved access to vital goods and services.
  • The first mobile phone service has been introduced at Banks and the introduction of regular and reliable shipping services was an important factor in the decision to install this equipment and plan for future maintenance.
  • The additional Marine Consultancy Services vessel, when not travelling to the northern islands, provides a new return freight service for businesses and communities on the island of Malekula.
  • Companies in Vanuatu have reported improved freight consolidation and transit facilities in Luganville as a result of Marine Consultancy Services’ expansion.
  • The stimulation of new business activity and the expansion of livelihood opportunities in Banks and Torres have, however, been slower than expected. Inadequate local transport logistics and freight consolidation facilities, as well as limited business support services, have proved to be limiting factors.
  • A key lesson from this project is the importance of adequate local transport services and consolidation facilities in remote locations before potential suppliers can properly utilise improved inter-island shipping services. Also, communities that have been isolated for some time are likely to require guidance and financial services to take advantage of better freight services and to increase their incomes.