Papua New Guinea
2.1.1 Papua New Guinea Port of Lae

Port Overview

The increase in vessel size and carrying capacity and the growing trend toward containerization have had significant impact on all PNG ports, particularly Lae port, PNG’s largest, busiest, and single most important port. Lae port handles about half of the throughput of the 22 declared ports and more than 60% of the international and coastal trade registered in PNGPCL’s ports, and generates more than 50% of PNGPCL’s revenue. It serves as a gateway linking the world market with a large hinterland comprising Morobe province, the city of Lae (the capital of the province, and PNG’s industrial and commercial center), and five resource-rich provinces in the Highlands. The hinterland is home to about half of the population and represents half of the territory. PNG’s most significant road, the Highlands Highway, runs from Lae to the Highlands region, dispensing imports ranging from heavy machinery to food products in the region and bringing the country’s major export items to Lae port. About 50% of PNG exports and 90% of coffee exports are shipped from Lae port.

 Lae port has been adapting to the demands of container operations over the past 20 years. But investment in facility maintenance and expansion has not kept pace with the growing trend toward containerization and larger ships. The current five berths at Lae, with a total length of about 520 m, and a total storage area of 53,620 square meters (m2) for cargo marshaling, are aging and cannot handle increasing cargo volumes and ship sizes. Berth 4 for domestic ships can no longer accommodate these ships and is underused. Berth 1, with a total length of 123 m and water depth of 11 m, is suitable for overseas vessels but is now used as a domestic terminal. Overseas vessels are mainly served by berths 2 and 3, which have a total length of 307 m. As a result, port congestion at Lae is frequent, imposing high costs on port users. In 2005, all classes of vessels reportedly spent 210 days waiting for a berth, each day’s delay in the harbor costing a shipping company $8,000–$15,000. Some vessels are turning away from the port. Others are considering imposing congestion charges in the range of $200– $250 per TEU, which will translate into higher costs for importers and exporters, and eventually consumers and the general economy. Port congestion also poses health and safety hazards, and the issue of compliance with the International Shipping and Port Security Code. As Lae port is the principal gateway for PNG, delays at the port have a cascading effect on other ports.

With a throughput reaching 2.4 million revenue tons, Lae port is operating at the limits of its capacity. The situation is expected to deteriorate, as the economic prospects for PNG remain strong, and the hinterland of the port is experiencing a boom in development. Some shipping companies have already purchased more ships, and are increasing their demand for efficient modern port infrastructure and management. Failure to expand capacity at this time and to manage Lae port more efficiently will dampen economic development.

Port website:

Key port information may also be found at:

For more information about the Port of Lae services, contacts and rates, please see Annex 2.1.1.


Port Location and Contacts



Province or District

Morobe Province

Town or City (Closest location)

City of Lae

Port's Complete Name

Seaport of Lae (UN/LOCODE: PGLAE)





Managing Company or Port Authority

PNG Ports Corporation Limited
P.O. BOX 563
Morobe Province
Papua New Guinea

Management Contact

Telephone: +675 472 2477
Fax: +675 472 2543


Closest Airport and Frequent Airlines to / from International Destinations

Airport Name:

  • Nadzab Airport (Domestic Only)
  • Jackson International Airport (International and Domestic)

International Airlines:

  • Air Niugini
  • PNG Air
  • Philippines Airlines
  • Qantas Link
  • Virgin Australia

Port Picture

Description and Contacts of Key Companies 

Port Contacts

Port Operating Company

PNG Ports Corporation Ltd.
PO Box 671
Port Moresby
Papua New Guinea


+675 308 4200


+675 321 1546



Port Operations

PNG Ports Corporation Ltd.
P.O. BOX 563
Morobe Province
Papua New Guinea


+675 472 2477
+675 472 6434


+675 472 2543


For more information, please see the following link: 4.4 Papua New Guinea Port and Waterways Contact List

Port Performance

PNGPCL insists on the confidentiality of its port traffic indicators.

Handling Figures


Vessel Calls

+/- 700

Container Traffic (TEUs)

23,811 TEUs


Discharge Rates and Terminal Handling Charges

For information on port rates and charges, please see the following link:

General Notice:

  • Except when explicitly mentioned, all the rates mentioned in this chapter are in Papua New Guinea Kina (PGK) and are excluded of 10% GST (VAT)
  • Except when explicitly mentioned, all the rates mentioned in this chapter concern all ports managed by PNGPCL
  • The general discharge rates applied by PNGPCL are the same for Lae, Port-Moresby, Kimbe, Vanimo and Samarai. Those rates are “taxes” and are in addition to the rates of the transport companies. 

Berthing Specifications





Water Depth
(below LAT)

Deck Height
(Above LAT)

Berth 1
(Overseas Wharf)

123 m

12 m

11 m

2.7 m

Berth 2
(Overseas Wharf)

123 m

12 m

11 m

2.7 m

Berth 3
(Overseas Wharf)

184 m

37 m

11 m

2.7 m

Berth 4
(Coastal Wharf)

54 m

13 m

4.9 m

2.7 m

Berth 2
(Coastal Wharf)

35 m

13 m

2.7 m

2.9 m

Tanker Berth

100 m

10 m

13.7 m

35 m

Barge Ramp

Width 12 m Grade 1 in 8

Permissible Loadings


Tons per sqm

Road Vehicle




Berth 1





Berth 2

1.95 m




Berth 3





Berth 4&6





Tanker Berth





Wharf Facilities

  • Bulk Handling: The Port has a Vigan Machine and handles Bulk wheat and grain.

  • Storage Area: Under cover storage 14,600 m2, open storage 39,000 m2.

  • Tanker facilities: Tanker Berth length 100 m depth 13 m below LAT and handles all types of fuels, max draft 9.5 m.

  • LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas): One 54.86 m berth depth 6.10 m.
  • Bunker Provider: Only light fuels are available by road tanker. For heavy oil available by pipe line. Suppliers: Mobil and Inter Oil.
  • Water Provider: Water is supplied on request by the Port Authority at Berth.
  • Slipways, Ship Repairs & Maintenance: A new dry dock facility is in operation at Motukea (Port Moresby) by Curtain Brothers (PNG) Ltd.
  • Waste Disposal: No waste disposal facility is available. Arrangement for disposal can also be done with the Shipping Agents and National Agriculture and Quarantine Inspection Authority (NAQIA).
  • RO-RO & Passenger Handling: Overseas Wharf (Berths 1-3) accommodates both types of vessels.

Port Handling Equipment

The port is a State Owned Entity (“SOE”) whose ownership is vested in trust with the Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC) on behalf of the Government of PNG.


(Yes / No)

Total Quantity and Capacity Available

Dockside Crane

There are no wharf mounted gantry cranes. However, forklifts are available and capable of lifting up to 20 ton containers.
Shippers are advised to check this before shipping heavier loads. Prior advice and approval must be sought from the relevant Port Authority.



20 tons

Container Facilities

The following container service companies are operating in Lae seaport:


20 ft

40 ft

Container Facilities Available



Daily Take Off Capacity (Containers per hour)

25 per hour

Customs Guidance

For more information on customs, please see the following links:

Papua New Guinea Customs 

1.3 Papua New Guinea Customs Information

Terminal Information

Grain and Bulk Handling

The Port has a Vigan Machine and handles bulk wheat and grain. Capacities exist at the private companies level. Both flour mills have their own bagging system in place.

Main Storage Terminal

Storage Type

Area (square meters)

Under Cover Storage


Open Storage



Stevedoring is ensured by private companies (annual licensing) in all ports of PNG. The majority of them are sub-companies of Steamships. All companies insist on the confidentiality of their tariffs and rates.

Most of the time, stevedoring operations costs are included in the global service costs ensured by the sea transport companies.

Stevedore Providers 

Lae Port Services Pty Ltd
P.O Box 434, Lae
Telephone: (675) 472 1915

United Stevedores
P.O Box 2191 Lae
Telephone: (675) 472 1099

Port Security


ISPS Compliant

(Yes / No)


Current ISPS Level


Level 1 = Normal, Level 2 = Heightened, Level 3 = Exceptional

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