Lae Tidal Basin Phase 2 Infrastructure Development Works are part of a 30-year masterplan developed by PNG Ports Corporation Limited (PNGPCL) to increase port capacity and catalyse industrial and commercial development in the region.


Lae is the industrial hub of Papua New Guinea and home to the largest cargo port of the country.Funded by the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP), SMEC Australia, SMEC International, SMEC PNG and P&M Consultants have commenced design and investigation works to facilitate extensive upgrades and expansion to the port infrastructure at Lae Tidal Basin (estimated AUD $200 Million).


The scope of work includes extension of the existing international wharf, associated dredging and reclamation, container yard upgrades, civil infrastructure, and enhancements to navigation systems. The project will be managed by PNGPCL with support from assigned officials from the Transport Sector Support Program (TSSP) and AIFFP. Wave-Climate Assessments, Assessment of Coastal Actions, Hydrology Assessments, Hydrographic Surveying, and Seismic and Geotechnical Investigations will be undertaken to inform the design works.



As part of the scope, SMEC will undertake Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) including environmental baseline survey, social baseline studies, assessment of gender and vulnerability issues, climate change assessment leading to the development of an Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP).


Other key considerations in the design include:

  • Designing for larger vessels up to 9,000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) with vessel length of 352m.
  • Ensuring that works can be safely implemented and staged in a working port environment, whilst maintaining all port activities and access to existing wharves.
  • Assessment of seismic codes and designing to complex seismic conditions of the site.
  • Planning for a future on-dock rail terminal.

Reflecting on the appointment, Christopher Ong, Manager, Ports and Maritime said,

“SMEC’s experience in conjunction with P&M Consultants extends through all aspects of port planning and design, associated works and impact to environmental and social. Our nominated team offers broad global experience and a deep understanding of container terminal design, port infrastructure and operational requirements associated with the green field port development.”


SMEC’s National Manager Ports and Maritime, Gary Bendell, stated, “The $200 million Lae Tidal Basin Phase 2 Infrastructure Development Project is PNG Ports’ key project which will open the port up to larger vessels up to 9,000 TEU and potential automation in the future. SMEC along with P&M Consultants is pleased to be selected to work with PNG Ports and the terminal operator in delivering this critical expansion project for the region.”