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PNG Govt welcomes Free Medical Supplies Shipment by Bismark Maritime Limited

The Marape-Steven Government today accepted a generous offer by Bismark Maritime Limited (BML) to provide free sea transportation of medical supplies for the next 15 months to all major sea ports in Papua New Guinea.

The offer was made to the Marape-Steven Government in a letter to the Minister of National Planning, the Honourable Samuel H Basil MP by the Bismark Maritime Limited’s Managing Director Mr Hamish Sharp, in a letter dated 23rd September 2020.

Minister Basil and Minister for Health and HIV-AIDS, Hon Jelta Wong jointly received the original Letter of Offer by Bismark Maritime Limited Managing Director Mr Hamish Sharp in a ceremony in Port Moresby’s Hilton Hotel on 1st October; And they gave a jointly signed Letter of Acceptance on behalf of the Marape-Steven Government to Mr Sharp.

Bismark Maritime Limited, a locally-owned and operated shipping company, provides shipping services throughout PNG including to/from Lae, Vanimo, Wewak, Madang, Bisamuk, Kimbe, Rabaul, Kavieng, Manus, Buka, Loloho, Oro Bay, Alotau, Port Moresby and along the Fly River to Kiunga.

Bismark Maritime Limited was the shipping company of choice during the Covid-19 State of Emergency to address the shortage in supply of fresh produce and vegetable in the National Capital District through a Government-funded freight subsidy scheme facilitated by Department of National Planning and Monitoring.

Minister Basil said: “Amid the economic woes and impact on revenue sources compounded by the world-wide Corona Virus Pandemic, this is the kind of public private partnership initiatives that the Marape-Steven Government appreciates and welcomes to help to ease hunger, pain and suffering within PNG.”

Added Minister Wong: “This is a literal a life-saver in both savings of millions of kina usually expended on freighting of medical supplies and in pre-positioning of medical supplies in sea ports for further distribution to provinces through Area Medical Stores and respective Provincial Health Authorities.”

In the original letter of offer, Mr Sharp said: “Bismark Maritime Limited fully endorses the Government of PNG’s commitment to delivering affordable and accessible health for all Papua New Guineans.

“To assist the Marape-Steven Government in achieving this objective, Bismark Maritime Limited would like to provide free sea freight and logistical services including full payment of all wharfage and handling, plus stevedoring costs, from 1st October 2020 through to the 31st December 2021.

“Bismark Maritime Limited confirms, that based on the success of this initial 15 months free shipping period, it would consider extending this free freight and logistical services beyond 31st December 2021.”

During the exchange of letters, Mr Sharp said that he has been involved, through the Julian Sharp Foundation Inc, in providing on-going health assistance and recognizes the importance of affordable and accessible health for Papua New Guineans.

“This is Bismark Maritime Limited’s way of assisting the Marape-Steven Government in these tough economic times and more importantly to contribute towards both serving and saving lives of our fellow Papua New Guineans.”

Following the exchange of letters, the parties indicated that drafting of a service level agreement is already underway as well as consultations especially with line health authorities to spell out roles, responsibilities and duties to maximize and effect this BML initiative.

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