The Management of the Mulifanua and Salelologa domestic wharves has returned to the Samoa Ports Authority, and away from the Samoa Shipping Corporation.
This was confirmed by SPA Chief Executive Officer, So’oalo Kuresa So’oalo speaking to Jasmine Netzler – Iose of the Government Press Office.
So’oalo explains the two domestic wharves were historically managed by SPA until “an incident” in 2014.
The incident was not ellaborated upon or explained by the CEO, except to say that whatever it was, it caused a decision in haste to shift the management of Mulifanua and Salelologa wharves away from SPA and to the Samoa Shipping Corporation.
For over 40 years, the Samoa Shipping Corporation has been the sole ferry service provider between Upolu and Savaii and the international route between Apia and American Samoa.
“So’oalo claims that the transfer in 2014 was sudden and it happened with a bang” according to the Government Press.
A Cabinet Directive (FK – Faaiuga Kapeneta) dates the official return of the domestic ports to the SPA’s management effective 01 October 2022.
The SPA CEO says he is currently completing official transfer documents including changes to the relevant legislations.
“This will be provided to Cabinet in its next sitting of 18 October..
“But it has started and we have taken over the ports.”
According to So’oalo the previous General Manager of the Samoa Shipping Corporation had been given a letter “some time ago” to move the domestic ports back to SPA.
A decision from former Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi some time ago that was in the form of a letter to the previous CEO of SSC had instructed the preparation of the wharves to be returned to SPA.
When the new Government came on board, the Chairman of SPA, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, saw the opportunity for the transfer to be realised.
Sooalo says he was encouraged by his Chairman to bring the wharves back under SPA and he had spoken with the Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure (MWTI) regarding the matter.
With the move now underway, So’oalo says it’s still early days and the development plans for both facilities are still in the pipeline.
However the SPA CEO did state that SPA would be looking at ways to utilise the lands at the two wharves.
In terms of impact on staff, the security officers and cleaners servicing the Mulifanua and Salelologa wharves will become staff of SPA.
“No one will lose their jobs,” confirms Sooalo.