Minister for Public Enterprises, Sir Mekere Morauta, says that National Executive Council has endorsed a progress report from PNG Ports on future options for the Port of Port Moresby.
“The port is already working at maximum capacity and cannot keep up with the growth demands imposed by the surge in national economic activity over the past few years,” he said.
“It is holding back economic development.
“Expansion is urgently needed, but there is not enough room at the present location to provide the required operational life of 100 years, nor is large-scale expansion appropriate there because of social and environmental issues.
“The scope of the expansion required for a 100-year life would also put even greater stress on local infrastructure such as roads and freight depots and warehouses.
“The consequences for people living and working close to the port – noise and dust pollution and the general inconvenience of large trucks moving through already overcrowded and unsuitable streets – would be intolerable.
“NEC has therefore endorsed a proposal from PNG Ports to move ahead with a plan to relocate the Port.”
Sir Mekere said the first step was to finalise the evaluation of a number of locations and identify a site that can provide the 100-year life span at the least possible cost.
Sir Mekere said previous studies had indentified Tatana Island and Motukea as the best available options.
Napanapa and Bootless Bay have been excluded.
“This is a very large and complex project of national importance,” he said.
“The task of finding a replacement for the existing wharf is now very urgent.
“Completion of critical engineering studies is now under way, as are investigations of land and water tenure issues.”
In the meantime, all efforts to make the existing port as efficient as possible are continuing.
There is scope for one expansion to meet short-term demand, and this will also be considered.
NEC also endorsed the creation of a Project Management Unit by Ports PNG and a Relocation Project Steering Committee consisting of government departments and authorities.