Pacific Forum Line

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Pacific Forum Line (PFL) is a multi-government run shipping line, an example of regional co-operation among Pacific Forum nations. It was born from concern over the deterioration of traditional island tramp services due to containerisation. Several studies showed that a South Pacific Regional Shipping Service was viable and Pacific Forum Line set sail in 1978.

As both a shipping company and an instrument for regional development, PFL’s charter charges the Line with the following responsibilities:

  • To ensure regular shipping services.
  • To offer a modern service that encourages economic development in the South Pacific Region.
  • To contain freight rates.
  • To operate a viable shipping service.

The Line’s goal has always been to maximise efficiencies so that a modest profit is returned while also keeping freight rates at realistic levels to help foster Island trade. The Line’s customers are offered commercial stability and regular reliable shipping service.

The twelve shareholders of Pacific Forum Line are the governments of:

All have equal voting rights, though each has a different financial stake in the company (e.g. New Zealand owns 23%).

Pacific Forum Line Limited the parent, is registered in Apia, Samoa and the operating arm – Pacific Forum Line (N.Z) Limited is located in Auckland, New Zealand. Pacific Forum Line has also set up agency divisions in many of the ports they service.

Pacific Forum Line vessels operate on five routes that connect the Pacific Islands to New Zealand and Australia and provide an important South Pacific Inter-island link. PFL carries containerised and break-bulk cargo on the New Zealand and Australian trade vessels. In addition, to and from Australia bulk liquids are also carried in purpose built tanks.

Possible sale[edit]

An extraordinary shareholders' meeting in March 2008 rejected any proposal to sell the company, but a New Zealand newspaper article said that John MacLennan who has been the CEO for 22 years had previously been in contact with directors of the Singapore-based shipping line PIL and had asked if they were interested in acquiring Pacific Forum [1] The PFL ships include Forum Rarotonga and Thor Elisabeth; revenue was $59 million and net assets $15.6 million.


  1. Sunday Star Times July 13, 2008 page D1