Lae port project to be completed next year

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday 10th April, 2013

 CHINA Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC), contractors of Lae’s main sea port, expects to complete the project on schedule by the end of next year.

Project manager Jinhua Ma told The National in Lae yesterday they have spent K227 million up to the end of last month on the first phase of the project.

The first phase involves land filling of swampy mangrove area near the current main to make room for more mooring facilities.

Lae is the country’s premier port and serves the Highlands region and the Madang province.

The current berthing capacity is inadequate with as many as seven overseas vessels, anchoring in the harbor daily to await their turn to dock and unload and/or load cargo.  

Ma said 65% of land fill had been completed so far with the rest expected to be accomplished by November this year. 

CHEC is using a huge fleet of equipment brought from overseas to work on the project, including a cutter suction dredger, grabber, 200 tonne crane, and swamp excavator costing over K300 million in all.  

The upgrading of the Lae port to international standards is expected to cost K734 million upon completion of the whole project at the end of next year but according to Ma this figure could vary depending on adaptation requirements and other variations as requested by the government. 

Despite work progressing well, failure to find hard rock for slope protection has forced the contractors design team to work on an alternative and they are confident of finding a solution. 

The company has over 300 staff working on the Lae port development project with locals also making up the number.

Ma said the issue of landownership has always been a dicey subject experienced in many of their other projects overseas but in all cases CHEC has been the contractor and not the project principal.

“Landowners are always important stakeholders of huge infrastructural projects in nearly any country, but usually land is acquired by principals instead of landowners but CHEC is always ready to integrate itself into the local culture and always respects and maintains a healthy relationship with stakeholders,” Ma said.

The port development is the company’s first project in the country.