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Work begins on biggest dry-dock in PNG

CURTAIN Brothers PNG Ltd has started work on the biggest dry-dock facility in the southern hemisphere. The facility is expected to generate millions of kina, general manager Justin McGann said.
McGann said that at a ceremony where he participated in signing the letter of intent for the proposed relocation of the Port Moresby Wharf to Motukea.
He said the dry-dock facility, which started three years ago in excess of a couple of K100 million, would repair Panamax and post Panamax vessels.
“We’re already on the radar of major shipping companies around the world that are looking for a strategic dry-dock in the Pacific because there’s none here.
“We’re fielding questions every week from shipping agencies asking when will the dry-dock they want to plan their five, 10, 15-years futures on the basis of our dry-dock.
“Once we start again, we’re probably 18 months away from opening doors for business. That means that will take the vessels that can come here now.
“They’ll be able to discharge at the port and then go into the dry-dock for maintenance. It will be like a one stop-shop, they will be able to handle their cargo and repaired.
“Currently our dock yard business is about K100 million per year and we think that we can get the dry dock business to five times very rapidly,” he said.
McGann said the beauty of the dry dock business is that the employment of people will be mostly Papua New Guineans.
“We’ve currently got 400 workforce in our docking facilities, we will probably get up to 800 nationals that are trained and can actually repair these vessels and do as good a job as any dock yard in the world.
“We started the work three years ago because we wanted to get the confidence of the international community that we would get the dry dock built eventually.
“It’s an investment for 100 years, we have to be careful about how we stage on and the money we spend now we have to get it back,” he said.
He said on Motukea, the firm is selling one third of its asset, which is the port infrastructure, while they retain the other two thirds and continue to develop it.
“Curtain Bros is here for the next 50 to 100-years in the dock yard business and in contracting and in development.
“We are here for the long term and we have a lot of confidence in PNG and in the future of the economy.
“We’ve developed the Port Moresby Harbour city and will continue to develop all the buildings and well move onto partner with other companies who have opportunities,” McGann said.
ONE PNG /The National

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