Departure Lounge: Pacific transport news


  • Neptune Pacific Line (Neptune) has acquired Pacific Direct Line (PDL) from PDL’s parent holding company, Pacific International Lines.

“By acquiring PDL, we can further develop our mainline shipping network to provide fixed-day services and increase the utilisation of our combined fleet, enabling us to continue to offer competitive freight rates. PDL’s extensive logistics network will allow us to support our customers across their entire supply chain needs,” said Rolf Rasmussen, Managing Director of Neptune.

PDL currently operates throughout the South Pacific region and specialises in providing liner shipping services from New Zealand and Australia to the South Pacific Islands. With the acquisition of PDL, Neptune will now have a specialised fleet of nine vessels dedicated to South Pacific Island trades and a team of more than 800, most of whom are based in supply chain services in the region.

  • PNG Ports has recorded a net profit of K77.07 million (US$22.4 million), a 94 per cent increase over its 2018 profit.

Board Chairman, Kepas Wali, says revenue grew to K306.56 million, cost control measures delivered savings of 14 per cent more than on 2018 and that overall throughput volumes also increased.

The 2019 annual audit of the airline’s accounts is now in progress. 2020 revenue projections of course will be revised due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Palau International Ship Registry says it is working to deliver service digitally to ship owners as it believes world economic recovery post the COVID-19 pandemic will depend on global supply chains and shipping fleets.

Registry CEO Panos Kirnidis says it is vital that the world’s shipping fleet continues to operate as normally as possible. He says the registry continues to support ship owners online, on the phone, by email, social media and through its website.

“It is not alarmist to say that the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to cause a severe shock to the global economy and in particular to the global shipping industry with the delays caused by the lockdowns in certain countries and production shutdowns, particularly in China, having a knock-on effect on the sector because of the disruption to global supply chains.

“We are working with ship owners to ensure the effects of these disruptions are kept to a minimum and not impacting on their operational abilities with digital services 24/7. Although there will most likely be a period of uncertainty even when the pandemic is past its worst, at PISR we have faith in the global economy and its powers of recovery. What we need is faith in systems, belief in strong governmental actions and a determination not to lose sight of the recovery that will come.”


  • The multi-million dollar upgrade of the Honiara airport is in limbo reports the Solomon Star. Japanese-funded workers have gone home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the permanent secretary for the Ministry of Communications & Aviation, Moses Virivolomo says if there is a chance the project could be terminated. The US$33.8 million project aims to reduce aircraft turn around, provide passenger comfort and improve safety by construction of a new departure terminal, a new taxiway, repairs to existing taxiway, repairs to existing apron and expansion of apron to the west, refurbishment of existing international terminal two-thirds to be used for domestic operations, installation of dykes for flood control, new generators and new lights.
  • French Polynesia’s government has signed off on studies into developing two more airports for international travel. The plan is to look at Rangiroa in the Tuamotus as a diversion airport for planes bound for Tahiti, and at the opening of Rangiroa for a weekly flight to and from New Zealand in the hope of boosting top-end tourism. The study will also examine the possibility of opening an airport of Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas Islands to flights from and to Honolullu.
  • The PNG government, China Railway Construction Engineering Group and the National Airports Corporation have signed a K90 million (US$26 million) contract to upgrade Kavieng Airport in New Ireland Province. The upgrade will involve aircraft pavement and strengthening, runway extension, a new terminal building and airfield ground lighting.
  • Still in PNG, national airline, Air Niugini, announced a profit of K500,000 (US$145K) off the back of a K133 million (US$38 million) turnaround. In normal circumstances, Air Niugini has a fleet of 26 aircraft, flying to 39 destinations. The result is attributed to the ‘Higher Altitude’ business transformation plan implemented by now-departed MD, Alan Milne, who cut unprofitable routes to Bali and Townsville, changed the schedules and frequencies to other destinations, and introduced direct flights between Port Moresby and Nadi, and a service between Cairns and Hong Kong, via POM.

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