The Pacific Marine Industrial Zone: an update


Work on the flagship project of Papua New Guinea’s fisheries industry, the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) in Madang, is progressing steadily, with the presentation of the design concept in early 2012.

While National Fisheries Authority Managing Director Sylvester Pokajam concedes ‘it has been slow going,’ he also says it has been important to get the engineering specifications right. The PNG Government says the project is on schedule. Detailed design will take an estimated six months and construction for the project’s first phase will take three years.

The PMIZ will provide wharfing, berthing, processing and other facilities for national and regional fishing operators at a 215-hectare site 30 kilometres north of Madang. The zone will help mitigate against limitations currently hampering the industry, by creating economies of scale and greater efficiency.

The project represents a US$161 million investment over two phases. China Eximbank is providing a US$73 million concessional loan to finance the first phase of construction, while the PNG Government is contributing an additional US$23 million. With only 1.6 million kina (US$750,000) remaining for PNG to pay for its counterpart funding, there are hopes project consultant China Shenyang International Economics and Technical Cooperation Corporation will start construction within a year or two.

 ‘There is continued misconception that it is solely for fish canners and processors and will lead to increased fishing pressures.’

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Niugini Tuna Limited—a partnership between the R D Tuna of the Philippines, Fairwell Fishery Group of Taiwan, and Tri Marine International of the US—has already signed an agreement with the PNG Government to operate at the zone. Its activities will include tuna fishing, tuna loining and canning, and fishmeal processing.

The loining plant and cannery will produce an estimated 100 metric tonnes of raw tuna per day, while the food processing plant will process 200 metric tons of tuna fish daily. The operation is expected to employ 1500 people in its initial phase, with spin-off business opportunities in repair services, air freight, surface freight, financial services, and trading and retail outlets. R D Tuna already bases its tuna canning facilities in Madang.

Chey Scovell, Chief Executive Officer of the Manufacturers Council of PNG, says the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone is one of the most important and misunderstood projects currently underway in PNG: ‘There is continued misconception that it is solely for fish canners and processors and will lead to increased fishing pressures. The site is actually a general industrial zone, with businesses from any sector able to benefit from a large-capacity container terminal and storage facilities, as well as physical sites on which to build and operate.’

First published in Made in PNG 2012

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