PNG PORTS Corporation has abandoned plans to build a dedicated palm oil berth as part of scheduled redevelopment works at Kimbe Port in West New Britain Province (WNBP).

The huge growth of New Britain Palm Oil (NBPO) and the resulting increased presence of its oil tankers had affected the normal flow of cargo delivery into the province, PNG Ports said in an announcement.

NBPO’s tankers have increased in size over the years and often stay at berth at the port for over five days, causing significant delays for other traffic, it said.

This had prompted PNG Ports to look into building a dedicated port for the industry, but a lack of financial support from key stakeholders has caused the group to drop the plans.

PNG Ports chief infrastructure officer Waqa Bauleka said the company would now look to build a new Kimbe coastal wharf permanent piled structure.

“This new wharf structure will accommodate the general cargo trade in and out of Kimbe Port,” he said.

Mr Bauleka said the project was in its preparation phase after being approved by the PNG Ports board in May, with Curtain Bros having been awarded the construction contract.

The contractor started work on site in mid-November and said it expected to complete the work in May 2015, with pile splicing and casting of precast concrete elements at the contractors yard at Motukea having already been completed.

PNG Ports chief executive Stanley Alphonse said the K49 million Kimbe rebuild would help the company to remain Papua New Guinea’s premier gateway for maritime trade.

He said the project would work in line with the company’s community service initiatives to provide quality port infrastructure and efficient port-related services for trade to continue for stakeholders and the people of WNBP.

Mr Alphonse said PNG Ports also aimed to provide improved customer services at its ports, even if it meant working with stakeholders to build dedicated wharf or berthing facilities to help ease berth congestion and allow for normal cargo delivery to organisations and individuals of WNBP.

The company has recently rebuilt the Lae and Alotau overseas wharves at a cost of K200 million, and also spent K10 million to rehabilitate Oro Bay Port’s trestles and barge ramp.