Cost of Living Relief Package – Changes to Transport Freight Subsidy from 01 April 2024

In July 2022 the Executive Council agreed a package of measures as part of its Cost of Living Policy. This was in direct response to sharp increases in the prices of essential goods and services in St Helena, and aimed to mitigate the immediate impact of these. 

One element of this was an adjustment to the subsidy applied to the costs of transporting freight between Rupert’s Wharf and Jamestown. Namely, removing the subsidy applied to non-essential goods and targeting this instead to food provisions, animal feed and chilled or frozen containers through an increase in the rate of subsidy for those containers.

Upon review in April 2023, the Executive Council (ExCo) agreed to continue the targeted subsidy until the end of the 2023-2024 financial year, and review this ahead of the commencement of the new shipping service in 2024.

With the financial year coming to a close at the end of March 2024 and the new MACS operated shipping service now in effect, ExCo has determined not to extend this subsidy beyond 31 March 2024.

This means that applications for the existing subsidy will only be processed for the final voyage of the MV Maria da Paz (including the recent arrival of the MV Unicloud) and the first voyage of the MACS service using the MV Karoline. As before, any applications for the subsidy must be submitted within 14 days of the arrival of the MV Maria da Paz and the MV Karoline.

The subsidy was put in place to help offset the significant and acute rises in the cost of certain goods and services to the public, following the rise in these as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. With a stabilisation in these costs over the last two years, we consider it an appropriate time to end this subsidy, in line with SHG’s Subsidies Policy

Longer term, costs associated with cargo operations should reduce with the transfer of all operations to Rupert’s.

In the interim, support to cover the costs associated with moving the cargo from Rupert’s into Jamestown is being reinstated. This will remain in place until such time that the new port facility in Rupert’s becomes operational. Transition to the Rupert’s facility is currently programmed for June 2024, following the completion of the Field Road upgrade project.

It should be noted that at this time, no changes are proposed to the other measures introduced to mitigate the impacts of high global inflation on the cost of living. This includes the changes to customs charges and the subsidy to Connect St Helena. However, these are being kept under review and it should not be expected that these will remain in place indefinitely.

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St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470