BY JENNIFER KUSAPA
Loggers moving into an already struggling shipping industry spells trouble, warns shipping Industry leader, Charles Welchman Rubaha.
Mr Rubaha is reinforcing Opposition Leader Matthew Wale’s call for government to act on this invasion by loggers into the shipping business.
Mr Wale had voiced his concerns during the parliament debate of the 2021 budget last week. Government has not responded to his call.
In a letter to the ministry of infrastructure development, chairman of the country’s maritime transportation association, Rubaha, said “shipping industry in the country faced problems and once loggers involved and run shipping it will affect the local shipping companies in the country.
“Locals running shipping services in country, are running at a huge risk as operation costs for shipping services are way too high and what the government should do to help the industry, they should provide some subsidies to support the local shipping industry in the country.
“Shipping industry in country now crippled due to the inundation of logging vessels entering the domestic shipping business.
“The loop hole that has allowed landing crafts, tugs and other vessels registered under the logging companies must be stopped and reversed.”
In the letter the association adds that logging industry enjoy a few tax and duty exemptions which include but is not limited to spare parts, machineries and even fuel and with those exemptions allows logging companies to lower their overheads and operating budgets, and as such they have much cheaper freight charges and low fares and when backed with their own workshops for maintenance, they make their profits on the other hand, locally owned and domestically operated shipping cannot compete with them.