Ports: Arteries of the Pacific Economy
Covering 162,500,000 square kilometres of the planet, the Pacific is a vast and largely uninhabited area. With so much blue ocean between them, Pacific nations rely heavily on their ports as their main channel for the entrance and exit of essential goods including fuel, foodstuffs, household goods, building supplies, vehicles, machinery and more. Without large-scale manufacturing and refining capacity, the efficient importation of these goods is crucial. The ports are the gateway for these items, as well as for the essential exports required to afford them.
The covid pandemic and major disruption to supply chains has made for an incredibly challenging few years for the Pacific ports and shipping industry. On average, 60% of Pacific nations’ GDP comes from imports. It’s time to reinforce the ports in the Pacific so that their largest contributor to GDP is not put at risk.
Transformation in ports and shipping
The need to upgrade port infrastructure to benefit, in particular, digital and software opportunities, was a key discussion point at the Association of Pacific Ports conference, held in September. Pacific ports outside of main centres are facing a major challenge when it comes to digital transformation: most, if not all, modern port technologies require a stable, high-speed internet connection. The scope, ruggedness and distance between modernised centres in the Pacific and the outer islands means that typical fibre-based internet connections are unfeasible. It is too expensive and time-consuming to connect enterprises not based in the main towns.
The best way to keep remote ports connected – both to people inland and other countries and shipping providers worldwide – is by utilising satellite broadband. Given its size, the best view of the Pacific is from space. The satellite Kacific1 is always privy to this view, making it the envy of many. The operator of this high-powered satellite is Kacific and its mission is to connect as many communities in the Pacific as possible via satellite broadband.
Connecting the Kosrae Port Authority
The port authority of the island of Kosrae in the Federated States of Micronesia needed connectivity. The port receives between 3 and 5 cargo vessels a month and is based around 10km out of the nearest town. Fibre is not available in Kosrae, and the port relies on Kacific’s satellite technology to secure high-speed, affordable internet access. Installation of the satellite dish was fast and straightforward – and the post was connected within hours to the satellite.
Using Kacific’s satellite connectivity, the Kosrae Port Authority can better communicate with cargo ships before they dock, they can connect with the nearby town, with ports in neighbouring islands and with the wider pacific community and economy.
By adding Kacific’s popular Community Wi-Fi service, extra data or bandwidth not used by the port can be sold on to other users in the form of a prepaid voucher. This could be visiting crew or even the local community. The flexibility means that in times of high flow, the port authority can access greater bandwidth, and in more sparse times, it can on-sell its extra internet capacity.
A heavy dependence on the ports
Kacific fills a gap in the APAC region. It serves countries as large as Papua New Guinea and as small as the Kiribati islands. State owned shipping fleets can utilise Kacific’s product offerings, as can very small, remote, individual operations. Kacific services can be scaled up or down to fit the needs of a business while allowing the ability to grow with a business or country. With the international sector modernising their fleets and approaches to business, ports in the Pacific need to remain up-to-date with the latest offerings in terms of technology and internet connection.
Ports in neighbouring islands, if all using Kacific as a broadband provider, can link together and create a shared network. This would enable them to easily share information as well as internet bandwidth, getting the best value for their money.
A 2021 report published by the International Monetary Fund found that Pacific governments’ struggle to know exactly how to tune their economies because of the lack of high-quality economic data. With most goods being brought in by ship, a connection between the ports and government is essential to transmit high-quality import and export data. With greater connectivity, regions will be able to develop faster and offer more to their inhabitants.
Improved management at Ifira Port Development
In Vanuatu, internet service provider 3 Link is a distributor of Kacific’s Gigstarter. 3Link’s services are leading to greater connectivity between the ports, buyers, sellers, logistics groups and the local government.
With services from 3Link, the Ifira Ports Development and Services on Ifira Island, which lies off the coast of Efate Island in Vanuatu, has benefited from Kacific’s reliable, high-speed satellite broadband.
The port is using Kacific’s Gigstarter 7-user plan as a backup internet connection to align with the Prime Minister’s directive for maritime safety, and to have VSAT connectivity in smaller vessels. This resulted in better connectivity to support better communications and digital solutions, which in turn lead to more efficient export logistics management and better fleet management. The port can now collect better data on products moving through it. Alongside this, the internet access supports better training for workers and faster communications, both which enhance the health and safety at the site.
The Ifira Ports Development and Services on Ifira Island
With help from Kacific’s satellite broadband, ports and the shipping industry can upgrade their infrastructure for better communications and take advantage of digital transformation. Satellite broadband not only provides a connection to the internet, but it provides an essential building-block for further economic growth and prosperity. It opens more doors with the rest of the world. It allows access to a variety of digital infrastructure and life-improving technologies. Ultimately, better connections, offered by Kacific, will work to further bring Pacific nations onto the global stage.
Kacific is a next-generation broadband satellite operator providing universal, fast, high-quality broadband at an affordable cost to rural and suburban areas across 25 regions of the Pacific and South East Asia.
Kacific works with local partners and distributors in each region, offering a range of prepaid high-speed unlimited data plans. Plans of up to 40Mbps start from USD$200 per month, with bigger plans up to 100Mbps starting from USD$600 per month. The satellite terminal kits are a one-time fee which start from USD$560.
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