Rota Mayor Melchor A. Mendiola welcomes GPPC Inc.'s plans to provide commercial cargo services between Rota and Saipan through MV Jayden, saying the move demonstrates the company's willingness to help the people of Rota.
Mendiola said in a phone interview Monday that the landing-craft style ship made on Saipan would help address the cargo crisis on the southernmost island in the CNMI.
“It's something that's a welcome development for the people of Rota. It's a good alternative,” he said.
GPPC, which does infrastructure and construction projects in the Commonwealth, announced early this month its plan to use MV Jayden to ship materials and equipment for its projects on Rota. In response to overwhelming requests, it said it will also provide commercial cargo services to the island.
MV Jayden, which measures 79 feet long and can carry about 70 tons of cargo, held a successful dry run at the Rota East Harbor on the first week of February and Mendiola said he is pleased that GPPC has proven its ability to serve their island.
“We're very happy to see that GPPC is willing to help and serve the people of Rota. This is the solution we need to address our problem. I thank their management for helping the Rota community in times of our need and hope that they will continue to provide these services,” he told Saipan Tribune.
According to Mendiola, the shipping woes on Rota has resulted in empty store shelves and shortages in basic commodities, prompting businesses to ship goods via air freight, which meant additional expenses passed on to consumers.
While he supports GPPC's services, Mendiola noted that the company should be registered with the proper agencies and meet the requirements for their operations.
Rep. Teresita Santos (Ind-Rota) had asked Attorney General Patrick San Nicolas to issue a cease and desist order against GPPC. San Nicolas, however, did not grant the request and said that the Commonwealth Ports Authority is the agency tasked to regulate ports in the CNMI.
The attorney general also noted that Santos is correct in asserting that the Department of Public Lands has no authority to allow GPPC to dock its ship at Rota East Harbor for the one-time dry run.
Mendiola said his office is willing to provide assistance to GPPC so it can go through the proper procedures and get their cargo services launched.