The PNG Ports Corporation Ltd (PNG Ports) recently received AU$589 million (around K1.5 billion) in funding from the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP). The money will be used to rehabilitate six ports – Lae, Daru, Kimbe, Kavieng, Lorengau, and Oro Bay. It will also go toward developing a Highlands inland freight hub.

PNG Ports already operates 15 maritime ports in the country. Fego Kiniafa, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, said that at least 30% of the funding would go toward local businesses and contractors as part of an initiative to invest in local enterprises.

Kiniafa said, “Under the AIFFP contract, local PNG content is a critical aspect, and we are looking at engaging local contractors to ensure that up to 30 per cent of the money stays in PNG.

“At least 40 prequalified international contractors, from Australia and eight other countries, have shown interest. We will take on board local companies as well to ensure local involvement is achieved.”

The funding is crucial to rehabilitate and improve facilities that have fallen into disrepair. Kiniafa explained, “Our port infrastructure has deteriorated over the decades. Immediate rehabilitation works will be done to build quality, sustainable infrastructure to serve PNG people for years to come.”

The development projects are predicted to be ongoing for three to five years. Thus far, the only one to have started is the Oro Bay Port rehabilitation project, but others are expected to begin imminently.