IPBC Announces Completion of Lae Port Project

Wednesday December 17, 2014 – The first phase of an upgrade of Lae Port is complete, paving the way for a boost in cargo throughput at the country’s most important port.

Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, other senior government officials, and representatives from Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC) joined the people of Lae on Wednesday December 17, 2014 to celebrate the completion of the initial phase of the development project.

“ADB has maintained a long and active presence in PNG supporting priority infrastructure investments such as the Lae Port Development Project, which aims to boost inclusive and environmentally sustainable economic growth,” said Marcelo Minc, Country Director of ADB’s PNG Resident Mission. “The strong partnership between ADB, the Government of PNG, and IPBC resulted in the project being delivered ahead of time and on budget.”

The first phase upgrade will substantially boost the safety and efficiency of port operations with new facilities including a tidal basin, a multipurpose berth, and terminal works including buildings, storage areas, roads, drainage, water, electricity and sewerage services. These improvements will significantly boost the port’s cargo-handling capacity.

The project is the largest ever undertaken by ADB in the Pacific, and Mr. Minc commended the government’s executing agency, IPBC, for successfully carrying out the first phase. He noted that the priority must now be to establish private sector management structures which can help Lae Port become a major regional hub serving the Pacific with improved capacity and operating efficiencies. Working closely with the private sector will help reduce the costs of doing business in PNG and maximize the benefits of the upgrades.

“Infrastructure developments such as the Lae Tidal Basin are crucial to the development of Papua New Guinea. The Lae Tidal Basin with two additional container berths will result in the tripling of capacity of the Lae Port, as a third berth has also recently been added to the existing facility,” said Wasantha Kumarasiri, Managing Director of the IPBC. “IPBC is committed to working with our development partners such as ADB in delivering such infrastructure projects as the Lae Tidal Basin in a timely and cost-effective manner,” he added.

The port sector is critical to Papua New Guinea’s economy since 15 out of its 20 provinces are coastal and more than 60% of the nation’s seven million people are widely dispersed.