Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lae chamber welcomes port project


LAE Chamber of Commerce and Industry has welcomed the K700 million Lae port expansion and redevelopment project.
The contract, approved by the national executive council, has been awarded to China Harbor Engineering, the lowest bidder for the contract, worth K734, 343,882.
An aerial view of Lae port.-Picture by PETER BOYD of Riback Stevedores

The project is being funded 70% by the Asian Development Bank and 30% by the national government.
The NEC decision requires China Harbor Engineering Company to agree to have a significant proportion of national labour in its workforce and to employ PNG sub-contractors.
The main element of the project is the construction of new port facilities including a tidal basin, a berth and a terminal.
Work is expected to start in the middle of this year and finish towards the end of 2015.
"The tidal basin project is just about to start, which will see 250m more wharf space for Lae," Lae Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Alan McLay said.
"The current project, which is extending berth three, will add a further 140m to give Lae the chance of coping with the demand.
"Some of the dredged soil will also fill swampy areas, which will add to the port area, and hopefully be used wisely to decrease congestion.
"Without this development, Lae would be too hard to ship goods and shippers would look at other alternative ports."
McLay said Lae port had become the largest in the Pacific, due to the increase in imported goods mainly for manufacturing, but also for mining infrastructure.
"First the Porgera, then Lihir and now Morobe Mining Joint Ventures and Ramu, where Lae port brought in the construction and infrastructural materials," he said.
"Of course we see the port absolutely stretched to its limits by the infrastructural needs of the LNG project.
"There are always four or five ships anchored offshore, waiting for berth at the port.
"Shipping companies are now charging a 'congestion fee' to importers to try to recover some of the expenses caused by the delays whilst waiting for a berth.
"The imported goods experience further delays while customs clear the goods, which normally end up as storage charges.
"All of these extra costs are either consumed by the importer, or passed onto the customer and adds to the inflationary prices of goods."
Public Enterprises Minister Sir Mekere Morauta said this was a very significant contract for the nation, especially for the Momase-Highlands region.
"Lae port cannot meet current demand, and is becoming an impediment to the economic development of the region," he said earlier.
"Redevelopment and expansion of the port is urgently required so that many large regional projects, including the LNG project, can be built on time and at a competitive cost."

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