By KEVIN PAMBA
Poor or lack of transport is often one of the major difficulties that rural farmers and entrepreneurs complain about and one investor in the copra sector realised this when it began investment in Madang in 2005.
When New Zealand-based Coconut Oil Sales Ltd acquired the coconut oil production mill in Madang from Elan Trading in November 2005 through its PNG subsidiary Coconut Oil Production Madang (COPM) Ltd, it also set up a shipping company called COPM Shipping Ltd.
It began with one barge, the mv Coconut Trader, which has a loading capacity of 250 metric tonnes.
In 2007, it acquired a second barge the mv Copra Trader, that has a cargo capacity of 800 metric tonnes.
The barges serve the north coast of mainland Papua New Guinea and islands in the Bismarck Sea including Manus, New Britain and New Ireland and they also travel further southeast to Milne Bay, sourcing copra from village farmers and bringing money to their door steps.
Recently, mv Copra Trader sailed into Madang from Milne Bay with the COPM’s record load of 900 tonnes of copra.