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Tonga’s freight and shipping of cargo takes place mostly by sea or air.
The European Commission reports that Tonga’s imports in 2010 were worth €0.2 billion and exports were worth less than €0.1billion. Export commodities are mainly vanilla beans, root crops and fish which go to Fiji, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Japan. Imports which come mostly from Fiji, New Zealand, US and China are mostly foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, fuels and chemicals. These activities are overseen by the Ministry of Commerce, Tourism and Labour.
Tonga has three major ports in Neiafu, Nukualofa and Pangai. The Port of Nukualofa is the largest port on the island and the Ports Authority Tonga offers a range of services including berthing, towing, mooring or docking of any vessel as well as providing lighterage, warehousing and piloting. Dry docks, repair facilities and bunkering is alvo available at Nukualofa and the port authority promotes the availability of air links to Fiji, New Zealand, Hawaii and Samoa. There are four berths and the port takes vessels up to 240m in length with a maximum draught of 12m at some berths. Although this main port is developed, the infrastructure countrywide is not as well advanced as Tonga has 176 islands and not all of them have well established ports.
Tonga is serviced by many shipping lines including Pacific Forum Line, Pacific Shipping Ltd, Tranlink Pacific Shipping Ltd, The Union Steamship Co Ltd, Columbus Line, The Bank Line, Dateline Shipping and JFM Shipping. Government-owned concern Shipping Corporation of Polynesia Ltd and a number of private operators carry out internal sea transport services. The Port Authority a public enterprise operates as a landlord the port at Nuku‘alofa, which handles 99% of all cargo coming into or going out of Tonga. There are six airports in the country of which one has a paved runway.
There are no railways in Tonga and cargo must be transported on the island by its road network which runs for around 680km.
Around seven merchant maritime companies operate in the country of which four are cargo, one carrier and two are passenger/cargo and two are foreign owned (by Australia and the UK).Pacific Forum Line (PFL) operates TNT, which is the main courier service in Tonga. EMJ Logistics along with other logistics companies also operate in the country. The Ministry of Infrastructure is responsible for overseeing the sector.