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The need for improved ocean shipping service in the South Pacific, as evidenced by recent statements from indigenous political and business leaders and organizations, is cited. The major hypothesis of the research is then presented: "There exists a potential for improvement in shipping service and a reduction in cost-of-service through: a) consolidation and/or expansion of existing routes into regional center-feeder line networks; b) consolidation of capital equipment or merger of existing firms." A possible approach using minimal spanning trees (MST's) is illustrated for selected South Pacific ports. The results are intended to illustrate and establish the methodology. The short paper concludes with a brief description of the research work that remains to be done before the hypothesis can be accurately tested.