Steamships Trading Company Ltd recently released a statement that reported strong performance and increased profits for 2021.

The company, based in Port Moresby, said, “On the back of a strong performance in the hospitality division and a continued recovery in the shipping division, revenue increased 11 per cent to K564 million on a continuing basis, and the underlying profit attributable to shareholders rose 14.8 per cent to K90.6 million. The company declared a final dividend of 1 kina per share, up 25 per cent from the prior year.”

Steamships added that 2021 had been a challenging year for Papua New Guinea’s private sector due to the impacts of the pandemic and the global economic slowdown. The company said that it too had been affected as its varied business activities were closely tied to the local economy.

“However, prudent cost management, a dedication to customer service and cautious investment have delivered much improved results in 2021 over the prior year,” Steamships said.

The company’s chairman, Geoff Cundle, said that although it had been a difficult period, the strong performance was the result of hard work, a loyal and resilient workforce, and well-timed business decisions.

“This is a pleasing result for our 600,000-plus Papua New Guinean shareholders and beneficiaries, coming as it does on the back of a decade of challenges for the company.

We’ve been through some lean years that have coincided with an economic lull in PNG, and more recently, we have had to adjust to the devastating impacts of a global pandemic,” Mr Cundle said.

“We’ve adjusted our balance sheet over time, rightsized our businesses, introduced efficiencies and made a significant investment in our business infrastructure that will accrue long-term benefits. Some of that benefit has flowed through to the numbers this year.”

The Steamships Trading Company Ltd employs around 3000 Papua New Guineans. It has several divisions across PNG, including Joint Venture Port Services, East West Transport, Consort Express Lines, Pacific Towing, and Pacific Palms Property. Furthermore, the company stated its confidence in PNG’s future and has several new projects in the pipeline.

Steamships stated, “The K500 million Harbourside precinct will be completed this year with the delivery of Harbourside South; the first portion of which will be handed over by the builders to Pacific Palms Property in March. In addition, two mixed-used developments, one in Mount Hagen and one in Port Moresby, will commence later in the year.”

“The company will remain vigilant in managing costs while being responsive to opportunities created by challenging market conditions.

“Later in the year, Steamships will move its corporate office and those of Pacific Palms Property and Coral Sea Hotels into @345 on Champion Parade, the old Burns House. This move signals Steamships’ desire to play a central part in regenerating downtown Port Moresby.”

Image caption: @345 on Champion Parade, formerly Burns House, at various stages of refurbishment: December 2020 and July 2021. Image credit Steamships Trading Company Ltd