Customs in row with contractor over delays

National, Normal

The National, Thursday July 11th, 2013


THE local contractor appointed by Central Supplies and Tenders Board (CSTB) to build a shed to house a world-class container scanning machines for PNG Customs Service in Lae has until the end of this month to explain why work has not begun. 

The ground-breaking ceremony for the project happened two years ago with construction of the building expected to begin last year.

Customs Commissioner Paul Ray said yesterday the contractor has been asked to show cause as to why construction has not started. 

Ray said PNG Customs wanted the building up and the facility operating soonest but there were issues with the CSTB-appointed contractor, resulting in no work being done and the scanning project not getting off the ground at the old Lae airport. 

Ray said CSTB advised that the company be notified and given a month to explain the situation.  

The company has until the end of this month to make justifications.

“This is a real setback for us and we are frustrated but have to go by what CSTB tells us to make sure we do what’s right,” he said from Port Moresby.

“We have purchased the machines from Beijing, the same contractor that supplies Customs Australia and the scanners have been readied to be shipped out.” 

Ray said the equipment was state of the art and the best in the Pacific, if not the world, but could not be brought to Lae without a place to store it.  

With the boom in mining and LNG gas activities in the Highlands, Madang and Morobe, the Lae port is experiencing a significant surge in overseas cargo and the large electronic scanners would improve customs checks. 

Customs officers currently have to manually go through containers to determine their contents but with the electronic scanners, whole containers can be scanned, cutting down on time and backlog at the port.