March 30 - Local media reports are suggesting that heavy lift shipping capacity is set to increase in Fiji and the south Pacific following a major expansion of the shipping arm of the Australia-based Carpenters Group.

Newspaper reports suggest the group has plans to launch 12 multipurpose ships.

Carpenters Shipping is an operating division of the Carpenter Group, which is the largest private sector enterprise in the Fiji Islands.

The reports suggest that the group, formed around 150 years ago, is due to receive the first ship in the expansion, a 1,000 to 2,000 teu ship capable of carrying breakbulk and heavy lift cargo in April.

The ships will be used from Australia and New Zealand, into South East Asia, covering the entire Pacific countries right up to China.

On land, the group operates a full range of heavy duty trucks, trailers, vans and other modern container handling equipment capable of handling all types of shipments including containerised, heavy load and over dimensional cargo.