Four questions for Thomas Bellamy, COO of Steamships Logistics Division


Steamships’ Logistic Division is Papua New Guinea’s largest transport and logistics provider – and it’s making some significant new investments. Chief Operating Officer Thomas Bellamy tells Business Advantage PNG what’s in store for 2023 – and what’s driving growth.

Credit: Steamships

Business Advantage PNG (BAPNG): Steamships’ logistic subsidiaries, which include Consort Express Lines, East West Transport, Pacific Towing and JV Port Services, are refleeting. Can you walk us through what’s involved? What was the driver of that investment decision?

Steamships’ Thomas Bellamy Credit: Steamships

Thomas Bellamy (TB): Steamships has continued to invest in both replacement and growth assets across its Logistics Division to keep pace with the growing customer volumes over the past two years.

While we held a little bit back in 2022 due to historically high price levels, marine asset costs at least have now started to normalise and we are investing more again in 2023. We’ve invested K100 million on assets for the division overall in 2022 and that will double to K200 million in 2023.

The replacement is about keeping our core businesses of liner shipping, stevedoring and handling, transport and harbour towage up to the standards they need to be at for the next 10 years.

‘I expect double digit growth at least for 2024 and 2025.’

The growth part is about keeping pace with rising consumer demands in PNG, while also preparing for the flow of economic development from the upcoming LNG investment cycle.

We’ve also purchased assets to plug capacity-constrained areas in our network right now (ships, trucks, stevedoring equipment and containers) and for that to be worthwhile [reasonable] returns need to be immediate. We purchased the Kimbe Chief and 1000 containers for our liner shipping business in 2022. We’re purchasing more vessels and over 1000 containers again in 2023.

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We see year-on-year organic growth in line with increasing demand from a growing population.

Overall, our capacity for shipping and trucking will be up by 20 per cent in 2023 versus 2022 and I expect double digit growth at least for 2024 and 2025.

BAPNG: What regulatory or business-related issues are you currently confronted with?

TB: In addition to containing costs, the key challenge for us in PNG is maintaining and improving operational standards and customer service levels. Demand on a limited labour pool, especially technical resources on vessels or in the workshops (marine and non- marine), will only increase as the resource boom ramps up and that’s likely to be the biggest single challenge through to at least 2025.

BAPNG: How will your end-to-end logistics solutions aid the resources sector, which is on the cusp of an investment ‘super cycle’?

TB: Customers don’t want to communicate with separate silos where they can avoid doing so. The easiest example is door-to-door shipping and we can now take a booking and deliver it seamlessly on land and sea, all tracked through one system.

Papua LNG is definitely the project generating the most interest right now and we’re certainly seeing a lot of interest in vessels that can take cargoes up the Purari river. There will also be a lot of demand for laydown area in Port Moresby.

BAPNG: What is the company’s remit in terms of achieving a return on investment versus the social/community trade-off?

Steamships subsidiary Consort Express Lines operates a comprehensive coastal shipping service in PNG. Credit: Steamships

For us, the two go hand in hand—and this is an area where we typically get the balance right.

We’re privileged to operate landowner stevedoring and transport joint ventures right across the country, so structurally our interests and the local communities’ interests are often aligned. We’re also fortunate that a business area like Consort’s liner shipping is a key enabler of domestic trade.

We haven’t increased prices in line with international pricing over 2021 and 2022, neither have we pursued overseas charter opportunities despite vessels like ours trading at very high rates internationally.


  1. Wally Kepao says

    I’m really interested.
    I’m a driver so if any vacancy please get me.
    Class 4 licness.
    pH: 70887350

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