Ports and shipping in Papua New Guinea: a sector profile


A sector profile of public and private ports, and shipping services in Papua New Guinea, including coastal shipping and container services.

Credit: Bismark Maritime


There are 16 operational national ports in Papua New Guinea, with 9 ports handling international cargoes and many small wharves, jetties and landing stages.

Fifteen of the ports are overseen by state-owned company, PNG Ports Corporation Limited. They include: Lae, Port Moresby (Motukea), Kimbe, Madang, Alotau, Rabaul, Kavieng, Oro Bay, Kieta, Buka, Vanimo, Lorengau, Wewak, Daru and Aitape. Only three: Lae Port, Port Moresby and Kimbe are profitable. The rest operate under a community service obligations programme.

The Maritime Division of the Department of Transport regulates other government and privately operated ports, while others are under agency.

The country has the potential to become a major trans-shipment hub in the Pacific.

Major ports

Lae, in Morobe Province, is PNG’s busiest port. A K350 million expansion is underway.  It will include the greater Lae Tidal Basin Project and the adjacent Huon Industrial Park development.

Lae’s 11.44 hectare South Pacific International Container Terminal is PNG’s largest container port.

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In February 2018, the project to relocate PNG’s second busiest port, in Port Moresby, to a larger site on Motukea Island was completed.

The new 8.6 hectare Motukea International Terminal port facility is the only terminal in Port Morebsy which can handle international containers. It has three berths of 530 metres, 19 hectares of reclaimed hardstand, 14 hectares of swing basic and 27 hectares of adjourning sea-bed lease. Development and expansion include an additional two international berths.

The Philippines-based International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI) has been awarded a 25-year contract to manage the international arms of ports on Motukea Island and Lae.

Private and specialist ports

A small number of private ports operate in PNG, including Curtain Brothers’ Papua New Guinea Dockyard, which is also located on Motukea Island.

Also near Port Moresby are two specialist port facilities: Puma Energy’s petroleum facility at Nana Napa Refinery and the LNG Plant at Caution Bay, where LNG shipments are loaded for export.

Other private ports in PNG include Ok Tedi Mining’s inland port on the Fly River at Kiunga, and Avenell Engineering Services’ Ravuvu Business Park outside Port Moresby.

The proposed Sepik Development project (formerly Frieda River) will eventually include an upgrade and expansion of the Port of Vanimo, on the northern coast of PNG.

Shipping schedules and other port information are available from the PNG Ports website: www.pngports.com.pg.

Shipping services

Several international shipping lines services PNG’s ports. Swire Shipping runs services between Australia, the Solomons and PNG, ANL connects Australian ports with Lae and Port Moresby, while Maersk runs services between Malaysia and PNG.

Coastal shipping services are provided by companies such as Bismarck Maritime and Consort Shipping.

Key players

What else would you like to know?

This sector file is a living document created as a service to our subscribers. It is updated from time to time, as new information comes to hand.

Is there something else you’d like to know about this sector? Is there new information we haven’t included? Let us know in the Comment section below, or email editor@businessadvantageinternational.com and we’ll look into it.


  1. Jayson Melpa says

    How many inland ports do we have in PNG…

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