Copra barge service for coastal areas
By BAEAU TAI
NEW Zealand-based Sleepyhead Manufacturing Co Ltd, owners and operators
of Coconut Oil Production Madang Ltd (COPM), has acquired a 400-tonne
barge which will service remote coconut growing areas in Papua New Guinea.
To benefit from the Madang-based COPM's new service are coastal areas
around Madang, Morobe, East Sepik, West Sepik, Manus and West New
Sleepyhead managing director Craig Turner, who is in Madang to launch
the boat this week, said the company was very encouraged about the
future prospects for coconut oil.
Mr Turner said the company made a very multi- million dollar investment
in COPM over the past year which included the upgrade of the Madang mill
and the acquisition of a copra trading barge MV Coconut Trader.
"Coconut oil is a volume business and there is a need to raise people's
interest and co-operation for the long term," Mr Turner said yesterday.
He said the new service would enable villages to receive cash for copra
right on the beach and also to buy consumer goods delivered to these
locations as requested.
"The barge would hopefully be an injection of new life into the industry
and demonstrates the company's confidence to continue to re-invest in
the mill and is looking for the continued valued co-operation and
support the company is receiving from the growers," Mr Turner said.
"We see our relationship and support to the copra growers as our key
priority going forward and we will be looking to further enhance and
develop an even closer relationship, with a view to at least doubling
our current copra supply as soon as possible."
The barge would be able to buy copra at the beach using a tractor to
haul and load copra.
Trading will start in middle of this month.
Areas to be serviced by the barge include Manam Island, Long Island, and
In East Sepik province - Wewak, Kairuru and Musu Islands and Aitape,
Lorengau in Manus, West New Britain province including Cape Gloucester
and in Morobe province - Umboi Island, Wasu and Finschhafen.
This initiative by Sleepyhead is expected to improve the volume of copra
production which has seen a decline for a number of years.