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Credit: Rocky Roe


Motukea Island, the site of Port Moresby’s new port, due for completion in 2018.

PNG’s key ports undergo major redevelopment The port of Port Moresby is set to be re-located to nearby Motukea Island, while the redeveloped port of Lae prepares to receive huge container vessels, cutting time and costs for business.


he port congestion worries of PNG’s recent past look set to be significantly reduced. Port Moresby’s main wharf will be relocated to nearby Motukea Island, after the PNG Government signed a K725 million agreement with Curtain Brothers to buy the current wharf on Motukea, plus about 60 hectares of land. An additional K550 million is budgeted for construction and extension of the port. The Minister for Public Enterprises and State Investments, Ben Micah, says the relocation will enhance economic growth and transform Port Moresby’s central business district: ‘The CBD of Port Moresby has reached operational capacity and has been hamstrung by traffic congestion and growth issues, forcing the government to seek a viable solution that will assist in the long-term development of the city.’ Micah says the relocation will be completed by 2018, when the city hosts that year’s APEC summit.

Dry dock facilities Motukea Island is currently home to civil engineering firm, Curtain Group, which plans to expand its own ship repair facilities by building a very large dry dock. Its current dockyard can repair a wide range of vessels up to 110 metres in length and weighing up to 4000 tonnes. The new dockyard, says General Manager, Justin McGann, will be 300 metres length, with a door width of 44 metres, and a sill depth of 10 metres at mid-tide. 42

‘This facility will be able to accommodate vessels up to some 100,000 DWT capacity,’ he tells Business Advantage. ‘We’ll have our dry dock for Panamax repairs, and we’ll have our shipyard where we want to build new ships. For example we’d like to build defence force ships for PNG.’ It also plans to build various facilities for port related operations, including an examination scanning facility already underway for PNG Customs.

Lae port expansion Lae is the manufacturing hub of Papua New Guinea and its port handles more than 60 per cent of PNG’s international and domestic trade. In 2015, the port—which handles around 55 vessels a month currently—is expected to handle some 130,000 international and 56,000 domestic containers. The first phase of a long-anticipated upgrade of Lae’s port was finished in December 2014. The project, funded by the Asian Development Bank, cost K734 million (US$275 million) and is the bank’s largest regional project, according to Marcelo Minc, the ADB’s Country Director for PNG. New facilities include a tidal basin, a multipurpose berth, and terminal works with buildings, storage areas, roads, drainage, water, electricity and sewerage services. The improvements will significantly boost the port’s cargohandling capacity, with government estimates suggesting that ultimately the upgrades will result in a tripling of capacity.

Business Advantage Papua New Guinea 2015  
Business Advantage Papua New Guinea 2015  

Annual business and investment guide to the Pacific's largest and fastest-growing economy