Developing Papua New Guinea
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Eddie Clinton
For nearly 20 years, Pacific Development Contractors Ltd (PDC) has demonstrated its acumen in handling a comprehensive range of construction services with seamless efficiency across its six operational departments in Papua New Guinea (PNG), honing each division to facilitate a contract portfolio that continues to go from strength to strength.
Specialising in earthworks, civil construction, building construction, shipping, timber products and downstream processing, timber sales, hydrocarbon recycling, helicopter and fixed wing aviation, and much more within its extensive remit, the subsequent sectors catered for by PDC has similarly diversified and expanded over the decades and, with a solid reputation now established in the region, the Company’s market standing stands it in perfect stead for the next stages of its evolution.
“One of our biggest advantages is our ability to mobilise and demobilise quickly and efficiently to and from any project site. The aviation and shipping department enables PDC to provide all products and services even in the most remote and inaccessible areas,” explains PDC’s Managing Director (MD), David Holmes. “We pride ourselves on providing flexible solutions to all customer needs and project requirements, never compromising on the quality of our product and services.”
Esteemed customers including the likes of Asia Development Bank, AusAID, World Bank, New Britain Palm Oil, Puma Energy, Airniugini, Hargy Oil Palms and both National and Provincial Government agencies throughout Papua New Guinea have all benefited from this commitment to carrying out bespoke and complex developments, and this solid customer base has proved to be a bedrock for the projects being undertaken at present.
“We have completed challenging projects in remote areas such as Manus Island group, Bougainville and Western Province,” Holmes affirms. “Those projects included the supply and construction of many schools and hospitals around areas which are only accessible by ship or helicopter, while our earthmoving fleet has developed roads in many remote areas, in West New Britain Province, Northern Province and other regions.
“Currently, PDC operates businesses in Central Province, Northern Province, West New Britain Province, Morobe Province, Western Province and New Island Province. We are now looking at Australia to grow our distribution division for our value added product range and Indonesia – namely West Papua – as our next venture to further expand our shipping and construction operations.”
New opportunities and fast strategies
Initially incepted as a log salvage Company utilising the waste generated from the agriculture oil palm industry, the subsequent foray into road and bridge construction, oil palm plantation development, and large-scale modern band sawmilling and plywood manufacturing has set the tone for the dynamism displayed within PDC’s continuous improvement model in the years following.
Consequently being earmarked for new sector projects – which, in turn, required the business to build new levels of infrastructure in order to complete the constructs – added further strings to the Company bow out of necessity, and the end result has culminated in an offering tailored for the challenging PNG environment, and experience beyond anything else available on such a wide scale in the market.
“The executive team is continuously seeking new opportunities and developing fast strategies to turn ideas into planned action,” Holmes emphasises. “Every department comprises highly qualified expatriates and national staff, to ensure that our customers will be supplied with their tailored project solution, and our excellent expertise in all different departments enables PDC to make fast and efficient decisions without relying on or seeking expertise outside of the Company.”
Facilitating such growth has been a series of ongoing investments across its divisions with the support of our bankers – Bank of South Pacific – this process has been possible. There is a new operational process strategy in place to enhance streamlining within the business over the next 12 months; and PDC’s supply chain management structure continues to be monitored on an annual basis.
The MD says: “PDC is working with a just-in-time procurement philosophy only. We are not keeping large amounts of stock; rather we are producing or buying on time, as per specific project needs. This is ensuring that we are supplying exactly to each customer’s and project’s specification.
“We are sourcing from key suppliers in PNG, Australia and China, where we are certain that quality, timeliness and pricing are the best option for the project.”
An exciting country with enormous resources
Merging all of these facets together smoothly and sustainably is an equally pivotal PDC workforce consisting of both domestic and expatriate staff members whose ongoing training and development ensures not only the optimisation of the aforementioned systems and processes, but who lead the charge in regards to instilling a strong sense of project engagement and personability within highly complex and machine-driven procedures.
“We are proud of PDC’s ability to engage in projects that are logistically challenging,” Holmes states. “Generally, most companies are reluctant to engage in difficult multi-faceted development projects because they don’t have the ability to carry out the required disciplines in-house, but PDC is a one-stop shop when it comes to difficult projects.
“We can design, build and deliver via land, sea and air – with or without airports, wharfs or roads – and carry out site preparation, earthworks and constructs to completion before handing over to the client.
“Our aviation and shipping department enables PDC to provide all products and services even in the most remote and inaccessible areas.”
By virtue of the Company’s traits, the possibility of branching out further into Asia has been turned into a reality from a supply chain perspective – with China, Malaysia, Singapore, India and Vietnam initial targets of expansion – but given PDC’s unparalleled experience and knowledge of the unique PNG domain, it is this most familiar and challenging of countries that remains the principal focus moving forward.
“In the future, in addition to the current head office, our branch in Popondetta and our aviation department in Port Moresby, we would expect PDC to have established branches around PNG, including East New Britain, Lae and Simberi/ Lihir, Western Province, and the Gulf Region,” Holmes concludes. “PNG is an exciting country with enormous resources, and we need to try to improve living standards, health and education. Running a business is a good step in the right direction.
“We are creating employment and training opportunities in all regions, wherever we are working on a project.”