Cairns-PNG shipping service planned

Business, Main Stories

The National – Monday, June 20, 2011

A REGULAR shipping service between the Far North Cairns and Papua New Guinea will bolster one of the region’s key economic diversification plans, the Cairns Post newspaper reported last week.
Silentworld and Ports North have revealed details of the weekly container ship link which they believe will spark a multi-million dollar trade relationship.
The Cairns Chamber of Commerce (CCC) has described it “as a substantial step” which gives the region’s businesses a quick and efficient way to tap into PNG’s burgeoning resources-led economy.
The port of Cairns is the closest Australian port to PNG and the region is well placed to take advantage of demands for goods and services.
It comes on top of additional air links to PNG from Cairns as well as a focus by the government and the CCC on PNG.
The chamber has led several trade delegations in the past 18 months to PNG and the government has appointed former chamber president Jeremy Blockey as the special trade commissioner to PNG.
Ports North chief executive officer Chris Boland and Silentworld director Meyric Slimming were calling on businesses to support the service, which is a US$3 million investment.
Slimming said the company was leasing the mv Southern Tiare, 62-container vessel, and the first weekly return service would start on Aug 19 with just under half the load booked with milk, fresh produce and dry goods.
 Slimming said the ser­vice could handle a widespread cargo manifest, including chilled goods.