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The Pacific Maritime Transport Alliance (PMTA) formerly know as Pacific Countries Ports Association (PCPA) is a regional group that promotes regional cooperation, friendship and understanding between member ports and port users through mutual association, exchange of knowledge and the dissemination of information useful to port administrations. PMTA also promotes measures to increase efficiency and safety, facilitating harmonious development of ports in the region.
PMTA has for a number of years organised training programmes for its regular members. These included seminars on containerisation, maritime legislation, handling of dangerous goods, Law of the Sea and computerisation. These seminars were made possible with the assistance of funding agencies which include United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Maritime Organization (IMO), Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and donor Governments such as Australia, New Zealand and France. In addition, the association has organised a number of training attachments for officials of island ports to be attached to Australia, New Zealand or Fiji Ports.
Establishment and name change
The South Pacific Ports Association (SPPA) was set up in 1978 to foster development of island ports through the exchange of information, experience and knowledge amongst members’ ports. The Ports Authority of Fiji (now known as Fiji Ports Corporation Limited), in its efforts to promote regional cooperation, acted as the Secretariat of SPPA since its inception in 1978. In 1999, SPPA’s name changed to APP and then on 17th April 2007 it was again changed to Pacific Countries Ports Association (PCPA).
The association has an Executive Committee that comprises of the President, Vice President, immediate past president and four regular members on a rotating basis. The PMTA Secretariat is currently based with tEconomic Development Division (EDD) - Transport Programme formerly know as Regional Maritime Programme (RMP) of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Suva, Fiji Islands. PMTA also works by establishing working groups on a per need basis. EDD - Transport Programme has provided the secretary and treasurer functions for PMTA since late 2006.
Membership of PMTA extends to port organisations, associations and other bodies, whether governmental, public or private, incorporated or unincorporated, or individuals interested in supporting and promoting the objectives of the Association. There are three categories of members; regular, associate and honorary. Regular members include any government or statutory port or marine authority or port company of a Pacific country. Associate members include any port user, organisation, entity or individual engaged or involved in port related activities in the Pacific region. Honorary membership may be conferred to any individual or organisation by the Conference. Regular members include port organisations from Cook Islands, Fiji, Norfolk Island, New Caledonia, Tonga, Tahiti, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and American Samoa. Port organisations from Australia and New Zealand are associate members of the Association.
PMTA works in collaboration with other regional organisations in the Pacific such as the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS).
- Collaboration with the Regional Maritime Programme
PMTA has been collaborating with EDD - Transport Programme on matters relating to ports and shipping in the region, specifically the implementation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. Although it wasn’t until mid 2006 that EDD - Transport Programme and PMTA formalised merging their interests, ports personnel have actively been part of consultations in EDD - Transport Programmes delivery of events and activities since 2004. On 6 June 2006, EDD - Transport Programmeand PMTA signed a memorandum of understanding defining their roles and responsibilities in the development of a more cooperative maritime sector in the Pacific Islands region. The PMTA Secretariat has now been based at SPC since 22 November 2006.
- Collaboration with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme
PMTA has been collaborating with SPREP in matters relating to the implementation of the APP Environment Accord and endorsed partnership with SPREP’s Pacific Ocean Pollution Prevention Programme (PACPOL) in 2003.
- Collaboration with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
PMTA collaborates with PIFS in matters such as the organisation of training attachments for officials in island ports to be attached to Australia, New Zealand or Fiji ports.