PNG Ports Explains Their Decision to Deal with Covid-19
by PNG Business News - March 31, 2021
COVID-19 had a major impact on Papua New Guinea's exports and port movement, but the PNG Ports Corporation had taken political decisions to handle the situation.
In recent months, the world has seen and continues to see a significant shift in everyday lives, which has had significant implications for industry, commerce, and transportation.
The pandemic's emergence altered both economic and trade forecasts for 2020. New predictions have reduced forecasts to negative 4.9 per cent, down from an estimate of 3.6 per cent increase in container trade worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 2.5 per cent in January 2020.
PNG Ports chairman Kepas Wali clarified that the company's earnings were the result of tight cost-cutting steps and prudent decisions taken by management.
Last year, he said, the closing of borders and prohibitions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic struck PNG Ports hard, which is dependent on trade.
Despite COVID-19, PNG Ports has continued to operate all of its ports.
“When COVID-19 hit the country and the world, the management of PNG Ports worked quickly and instituted certain protocols and prevention measures just so we can maintain our ports operations,” he said. “The management’s quick response to the situation has made it possible for all ports to operate during the hit by the pandemic through until now.”
He said the pandemic's consequences on the company were expensive, but PNG Ports is happy with the positive results obtained by their management's swift reaction and aims to continue this going forward.
PNG Business News - June 28, 2021
Australia To Provide Infrastructure for PNG
According to Australian High Commissioner Jon Philp, Australia aims to provide high-quality infrastructure for PNG, generate employment, and upskill locals. His administration recently announced that it will invest K1.1 billion (US$300 million) to improve and repair all marine facilities owned and maintained by PNG Ports. In Port Moresby, Philp signed an agreement with State Enterprises Minister William Duma and PNG Ports chairman Kepas Wali, signalling Australia's commitment to the development of PNG's marine infrastructure sector. He stated that Australia was pleased to help PNG improve its marine infrastructure in order to enable commerce and boost national development. PNG's Prime Minister James Marape, who was also there, said the country has sought Australia for help in renewing and improving its ports. Duma praised Australia for prioritizing local jobs and business engagement in whatever project it supports. “The foundations of most of our ports were built during the colonial and Pacific War era by the Australians, and it is appropriate that we now come together to jointly collaborate to plan for the rehabilitation of critical infrastructure,” he said. The 30-year ports infrastructure master plan, Philp said, presented a "great opportunity and platform" for Australia to assist PNG's infrastructure development goals. Wali praised the board and management of PNG Ports for their dedication and assistance in ensuring that any work sponsored by Australia will be done in a transparent and high-quality way. He was pleased that PNG Ports had the chance to prepare a financing proposal for projects that will modernize the country's ports and benefit the people. Reference: Kero, Gynnie. The National (25 June 2021). “K1bil for ports upgrade”.
PNG Business News - August 09, 2021
PNG Ports Corp Redevelopment Expected to Cost K1.1 Billion
PNG Ports Corporation is redeveloping and investing in its ports in the future as part of its 30-year master plan. Rodney Begley, the chief operating officer of the PNG Ports Corporation, said the company completed a 30-year master plan 18 months ago that included evaluations of every port in the country. “We did an economical assessment, environmental assessments, and constructional assessments. “This is a general everyday roster on the master plan. This document now manifests PNG Ports as we look forward to the next 30 years. “We are working with the Australian government in port redevelopment and investments.” He stated that ports in Daru, Kimbe, Madang, Kavieng, Lae Tidal Basin, Rabaul, Vanimo, and Lorengau are being considered for redevelopment. Over the next five years, this will spend K1.1 billion ($AU400) in reconstruction across the country. “Over the last 12 months, I’ve come to recognize the importance of the Highlands region as the food basket of the country. “We at PNG Ports have visions to develop three inland trade hubs to support the Highlands. “This idea is that we replicate a traditional ocean seaport and we place it at the base of the Highlands in Goroka and maybe in Mt Hagen,” said Mr. Begley. He explained that the goal is to make it easier for people to transport fruits and vegetables, as well as other items, up and down the highway by utilizing these three stations. “That’s a visionary idea and something that they are talking to the government about. “This is the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility (AIFFP) funding of the Pacific. “In November last year, I wrote to the Australian government and they granted us K26m, and this year in January I wrote to Australian government and we are now in negotiations to secure and finalize $AU400 or K1.1 billion.” PNG Ports will invest money through a mixed financial package, with 80 percent being soft loans and 20 percent being grants, according to Begley. “All of this is underpinned by the PNG Ports 30-year master plan. Those eight ports will be the fundamental focus of this spending,” he added. Reference: Post-Courier (2 August 2021). “Ports Redevelopment, Investments To Cost K1.1 Billion”.
PNG Business News - October 25, 2021
Performance of Ports Improving
According to PNG Ports Corporation Ltd, the country's two international marine ports have developed considerably in the last four years. According to statistics released last month, cargo volumes increased by 204,518 20-foot equivalent units (TEU) this year, while vessel turnaround time decreased by approximately 50%. PNG Ports owns the Lae and Motukea terminals in Port Moresby, which are managed and operated by International Container Terminal Services Inc (Ictsi) South Pacific, a worldwide terminal operator. The Ictsi Group and PNG Ports inked a 25-year terminal management deal in September 2017 to operate the two ports. The South Pacific International Container Terminal (Spict) operates out of Lae, while the Motukea International Terminal (MIT) operates out of Motukea. Last month, the Ictsi said that the two ports had outperformed expectations, with vessel turnaround times and berth waiting periods decreased and cargo volumes increased. In Lae, the average time spent waiting for a vessel has reduced from 45 hours in 2015 to 30 hours this year. It was 37 hours ago and 15 hours ago in Motukea. Cargo volumes have increased dramatically this year, with a total TEU of 204,518 compared to 195,348 in 2015. In comparison to the conventional days of manually billing clients just four years ago, electronic data exchange and reporting, including invoicing and payments, are also carried out electronically and in real-time. Fego Kiniafa, managing director of PNG Ports, praised the improved performance. “Bigger ships are coming in with the modernisation and rehabilitation of the ports and PNG Ports is happy to continue working with Ictsi on this,” Kiniafa said. PNG Ports also have ports in the following areas: Oro Bay, Kimbe, Kieta and Buka in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Daru, Alotau, Rabaul, Lorengau, Kavieng, Altape Wewak, Vanimo, and Madang. Reference: The National (20 October 2021). “Sea ports’ performances improved in past 4 years: Firm”.
PNG Business News - June 05, 2023
PNG PM Marape Participates in PIF Leaders Breakfast Caucas
Photo: PNG PM Marape Participates in PIF Leaders Breakfast Caucas Prior to the Korean-Pacific Islands Leaders (Kor-Pic) Meeting, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Marape joined other PIC Leaders for a breakfast caucus Chaired by Cook Islands Prime Minister and current Pacific Islands Forum Chair Mark Brown, to discuss the agenda and a common position on shared development issues. Prime Minister Marape said climate variation, being the perennial issue including sourcing appropriate development assistance from the Korean Government was high on the agenda. He said the encouragement during the caucus was for all PIC Leaders to discuss their developmental challenges and put forward their ideas on how Korean Development assistance could complement the 2050 Blue Pacific Strategy. Following this caucus, Prime Minister Marape, met with Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles. Their discussions were centered around progress of the proposed Bilateral Security Treaty (BST), the recently concluded Defense Cooperation Agreement with the US, Visa issues and the PNG NRL Bid. On the BST, Prime Minister Marape mentioned that it was work in progress and required the PNG side to consult our domestic processes and sovereign laws in relation to certain wordings and provisions. He also conveyed his apologies to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for the delay in formalising this proposed Treaty with Australia. For the DCA with the US, Prime Minister Marape informed that it was centered around improving the PNGDF's capabilities and interoperability including protecting our frontiers and sovereignty. He said it was non-discriminatory and PNG was open to entering into similar arrangements with its bilateral partners. “In fact, the DCA would also complement domestic law enforcement,” Prime Minister Marape said. “The Ship Rider Agreement on the other hand was also vital in combating illegal fishing and transnational crimes.” For Visa issues, Deputy Prime Minister Marles informed that the current Australian Government was fully aware of the situation and following the Ministerial Forum in February this year in Canberra, had established a Joint Ministerial Team to work on bringing the Australian visa processing facility back on shore to PNG. Prime Minister Marape in his response said that all processes from both sides had to be attended to in order for smooth facilitation and for citizens and businesses to continue without much hindrance now and heading into 2050 when PNG celebrates 50 years of nationhood. On Papua New Guinea’s NRL Bid, Prime Minister Marape explained that PNG was still very keen as rugby league was a major unifying factor, bringing our 800 tribes together as one people. In closing Prime Minister Marape assured Deputy Prime Minister Marles that PNG in no way would compromise its excellent existing bilateral relations with Australia and further stressed that PNG was capable of managing its sovereign affairs on its terms, systems and processes.
PNG Business News - June 05, 2023
ADB Helps Launch Vocational Education Project in PNG
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) today launched a cofinanced project to improve the country’s technical and vocational education and training (TVET) program. PNG's Deputy Prime Minister John Rosso delivered a keynote address at the launch event at Port Moresby Technical College. PNG’s Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, and Sports Don Polye, ADB Country Director for Papua New Guinea David Hill, and Australian High Commission Minister Counsellor Paul Lehmann all spoke at the event. The Improved Technical and Vocational Education and Training for Employment Project financed by ADB and the governments of Australia and PNG will strengthen the country’s TVET program and help prepare students to be more competitive and responsive to employment and industry demands. “We hope this project will become a model for all vocational education and skills training in TVET colleges in the country,” said Mr. Rosso. “The beneficiaries of this project—young, skilled workers, including women and men—represent PNG’s future, and through this project, the future of vocational education in PNG looks bright.” This project aims to boost the numbers of skilled workers in the construction and agriculture sectors where demand is high. “We will work with our partners to help advance reforms in the vocational education and skills training space in PNG,” said Mr.Hill. “These sought-after skills in priority sectors will help grow PNG’s economy.” The TVET sector of PNG’s education system comprises public, religious, or private institutions, including technical and business colleges offering postsecondary courses and vocational training. “The Australian government is pleased to be supporting the Government of Papua New Guinea to achieve its reform goals in technical and vocational education and training to increase the number and quality of skilled workers,” said Australian High Commission Minister Counsellor Paul Lehmann. “My vision for the TVET for Employment Project is that it will perform as an innovation and technology business incubator across PNG,” said Mr. Polye. “The project is the embodiment of a new approach—building a culture of quality education and innovation in a renewed and revitalized TVET sector.” The Improved Technical and Vocational Education and Training for Employment Project is funded through a $50 million concessional loan from ADB and a $10.6 million grant from Australia. The Government of PNG is also contributing $5.7 million. ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.
PNG Business News - June 05, 2023
PNG Forges an Innovation-fueled Partnership with South Korea in Digital Transformation
Papua New Guinea was amongst seven other Pacific Island countries to sign a partnership statement of intent with the Republic of Korea to further cooperation and partnership in digital transformation. Information and Communications Technology Minister Timothy Masiu, who also was appointed co- chair of the just concluded Korea -Pacific Islands Digital Ministerial Conference in Seoul, South Korea, signed the statement together with the meeting chairman Korean Minister for Science and ICT Dr Lee Jong-Ho. The others who signed the partnership intent are Tonga, Nauru, Samoa, Palau, Cook Islands and Kiribati. Australia and the World Bank also attended the meeting as supporting partners. The Statement of Intent states; The partnership recognize digitalization has transformed not only daily lives but also shapes innovation in all sectors including politics, economy, society, culture and environment. Recognize and note that digital technology offers great potential to address various social economic challenges that come with rapid transformation of society. Agree on continued partnership in digital transformation inclusive of sustainable development will be the key to future prosperity of the people of Korea and the pacific. Agree on sharing digital vision of policies will pave way for strong partnership to digital co-prosperity. Mr Masiu expressed deep satisfaction that Korea , the global leading innovation country, has agreed to partner with Pacific countries including Papua New Guinea in digital transformation that will greatly enhance communication in a vast area like the Pacific and more so, strengthen supporting technology to better access to health, education and business. He told the conference that Papua New Guinea has begun the digital transformation with Parliament passing the Digital Government Act 2022 and relevant policies, and welcomed the partnership with the Republic of Korea, which he says, will go a long way in progressing the digital transformation agenda for PNG and the region. Mr Masiu had bilateral meeting with his South Korean counterpart, further seeking a stronger country to country relations in digital transformation and support to the National Broadcasting Corporation proposing a partnership between the NBC and the Korean Broadcasting Services. The Minister has formally invited the Korean Minister for Science and ICT to visit Papua New Guinea for the Pacific ICT meeting in August 2023 or to accompany the South Korean President who has been invited by Prime Minister James Marape to visit PNG. Mr Marape was in Seoul also this week for the Korea- Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting. Minister Dr Lee Jong-Ho acknowledges the leadership of Papua New Guinea in digital transformation and reaffirmed its support to PNG and the other Pacific Island countries.