Direct POM-Cairns shipping route eyed

Main Stories, National


THE K12 billion PNG LNG gas project is expected to become a multi-million dollar money spinner for companies within the region that are geared up to take advantage of opportunities that it will create.
With that in mind, the business community in Far North Queensland in Australia is gearing up to be part of the action and create opportunities that are mutually beneficial to both PNG and Queensland.
Backed by the Cairns chamber of commerce, a group of business representatives will look at the feasibility of establishing a direct shipping route between Cairns and Port Moresby.
 The chamber is heading a trade delegation that will visit Port Moresby next month for exploratory talks with business houses and look at the viability of establishing such a shipping route which could allow Australian suppliers to land their cargo like heavy machinery and other equipment and in Port Moresby – on the doorsteps of the LNG project.
Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) reported yesterday that the Cairns Chamber of Commerce members were keen at supplying goods and services to the project.
Spokeswoman Sharon Dawson said in their trip to Port Moresby, they would look at economic opportunities – including supplying goods and services for liquefied natural gas projects – and whether there was enough demand for a direct shipping route.
She said there could be economic benefits for the far north Queensland.
“I guess the main one we’d all be hoping for is employment, but we’re really looking for long-term partnerships,” she said.
“We’ve got a near neighbour, we’re very well geographically placed to provide services, we’ve got regular flights and of course, we’re hoping to explore shipping.
“There could be anything from training opportunities, so the skilled labour that’s required to develop those projects, right through to construction support, or even professional services like accountancy or legal services, so there’s a whole range of services.”
Meanwhile, a landowner company chairman from the Juha gas resource area told this newspaper yesterday if the direct shipping route was established, they could fly to Queensland and do their “shopping” for heavy plant and equipment for construction work and send them back on the shipping service.
“This is what we really need, we don’t have to order them from Japan,” he said.
A business delegation from Shanghai, China, is currently in PNG to also look at grabbing a slice of the cake.