FORMER Pacific Towing general manager Neil Papenfus has taken up the position of chief executive officer of PNG Ports Corporation Limited.

This is the first permanent appointee to the position since the death of Fego Kiniafa, who passed away in September, 2022. Chief commercial officer, Ian Hayden-Smart, oversaw the role in an interim capacity as Officer in Charge, while a suitable candidate was sought.

Mr Papenfus’s appointment was made by the National Executive Council after a rigorous selection process and was effective from 20 March 2024 for a period of three years. He took up the job last week after signing his contract as CEO of “the top-performing State Owned Enterprise”.

Harvey Nii, the chairman of the PNG Ports Board, welcomed Mr Papenfus, saying the appointment was the start of a new era and he looked forward to working with the new CEO. Mr Nii also thanked the NEC, Government and the Minister for State Enterprises for the appointment, assuring them that PNG Ports would continue to make profit and deliver attractive returns for the country.

“The appointment is timely, and with the added industry experience brought by the CEO, we look towards delivering key infrastructure projects that are set to improve efficiencies at our ports,” Mr Nii said.

Mr Papenfus served as the GM of PacTow, a division of Steamships Ltd (in which Swire holds a major interest) for 10 years. PacTow’s website says prior roles include manager of Joint Venture Stevedoring from 2011 and Port Services Ltd. from 2007. He has work experience in Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand and South Africa, holds a Bachelor Degree in Arts from Rhodes University and is a Director of the Madang Maritime College and the PNG Business Coalition for Women.

Last October Mr Papenfus swam the English Channel to raise money for people living with disabilities in Papua New Guinea. His appointment to PNG Ports has been widely welcomed on LinkedIn.