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China lifts freeze to allow flagship PNG port project

Common service facility for region

Work on the flagship project of Papua New Guinea’s fisheries industry, the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) in Madang will start after the China Export and Import (Exim) Bank agreed to lift its freeze on the US$74 million loan for the project. The project, among its other objectives, aims to establish a competitive regional common service facility for all Pacific Islands Countries to consider as an investment opportunity that will serve as a major offloading center for tuna caught from within their respective fishing grounds.

For PNG, it aims to maximize the economic benefits of the marine resources especially tuna for the country and its proposed partners/stakeholders and create economies of scale good enough for the locators of the proposed marine industrial zone to be internationally competitive.

Project contractor China Shenyang International Economics and Technical Cooperation Corporation is mobilising and will proceed to complete the geo-technical studies within eight weeks and the design will be completed before PNG’s National Executive Council (NEC) can meet and agree to the final designs to allow the construction to start in early 2015. The Chinese bank had frozen the loan because of a long court battle by Madang based landowners and other loan requirements that the PNG Government had to meet including meeting the loan counterpart funding requirements.

The lifting of the loan followed representations made to the Chairman and President of the Exim Bank, Li Ruogu in Beijing by the Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry, Richard Maru and his delegation which include PNG Ambassador to China, Christopher Mero, Trade, Commerce and Industry Secretary John Andrias and Treasury Officer, Damien Horiambe in September.

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