Mr. Andrew Connell
Regional Project Manager, Integrated Logistics
First and foremost, Andrew could you introduce the Integrated Logistics Division of Swire Shipping to our readers and could you also elaborate a bit on Swire Shipping overall?
Swire Shipping is the wholly-owned, deep-sea ship-owning and operating arm of the multinational Swire group.
Headquartered in Singapore, Swire Shipping is dedicated to facilitating and growing trade in regions where we operate. Connecting over 400 ports globally, Swire Shipping provides several high frequency liner shipping services in the Asia Pacific markets; integrated logistics solutions in the Pacific; transpacific services between North Asia and the Pacific Northwest; and specialist shipping services to the global project logistics market under the brand name, Swire Projects. It specializes in providing a wide range of specialist customer solutions for project, heavy lift, refrigerated, breakbulk and mini bulk cargoes. Swire Shipping maintains a worldwide agency network in addition to its own representative offices across the Asia-Pacific, Pacific Islands, North America, and Europe, providing customers with dedicated service and expert market knowledge.
In 2021, Swire Shipping launched our integrated logistics division, offering the market a full suite of land-based logistics products to complement our existing range of containerised and breakbulk liner and project charter shipping.
Today, Swire Shipping is a one-stop-shop for end-to-end supply chain solutions, including international, domestic coastal and inland cargo transportation, customs and quarantine clearance, warehousing and distribution, container sales and leasing, supply chain consultancy, and project logistics management services.
I understand that you have an office located in Papua New Guinea. It is a seldom visited and little known country for many of our readers. Can you tell us a bit about logistics in PNG and some of the challenges that you are facing there?
Papua New Guinea is an island nation located north of Australia and east of Indonesia, bordered by the Arafura Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The country is a true paradise—it is one of the most diverse nations on Earth with over 1,000 different cultures, each with their own customs and traditions and over 850 different distinct languages spoken across a population of just over 7 million people.
The country is blessed with natural beauty, from rainforests and white sand beaches to coral reefs, sweeping mountain ranges and towering volcanoes. The Papua New Guinean people are predominantly of Melanesian descent (with some other Pacific ancestries including Micronesian and Polynesian) and are generally warm, welcoming, and willing to lend a hand—all part of the wantok (“one talk” or “close friend” in the local Tok Pisin language) system that prioritises a sense of community.
I never let an opportunity to promote the beauty of the country pass, and would like to share a few photos of some of our experiences over the years:
The logistics in Papua New Guinea are complicated. Infrastructure wise, facilities are slowly improving. However, the state of the roads, for example, has its challenges—the main road connecting the capital city Port Moresby with Motukea (the new international sea port located 11km from downtown Port Moresby and completed in 2010) is in a continuous state of disrepair, with potholes and roadblocks a common frustration to users. There is no road connecting the capital Port Moresby with the main manufacturing centre in Lae, the two largest cities in the country, so domestic transport must be via coastal vessels or air.
Customs and quarantine clearances are a complex and time-consuming affair, with many processes still paper-based.
Each of these issues add to a heightened level of risk in the supply chain, and in a country like Papua New Guinea, it is important to work with a reputable, reliable and experienced logistics partner who can navigate these issues ethically and professionally.
What are the main ports of PNG, and what kind of project cargoes are typically shipped in? Are you also able to arrange inland transport and customs clearance in PNG?
Papua New Guinea has two primary international ports—Port Moresby (Motukea) and Lae, the latter of which handles almost half of the country’s maritime freight. After Lae and Motukea, Kimbe is the next largest port in terms of container volumes. Swire Shipping operates regularly scheduled liner service into these and all of the smaller out ports, including Alotau, Buka, Kavieng, Madang, Oro Bay and Rabaul.
Through our wholly-owned network, Swire Shipping offers land transport and customs clearance for containerised and breakbulk cargo into each of these locations, coverage that is unmatched by any other ocean carrier or freight forwarder.
Papua New Guinea’s primary import commodities are refined petroleum, rice, machinery and motor vehicles. Exports include gold, copper ore, and nickel.
With a project boom just around the corner in the areas of LNG, mining, infrastructure and defence, Papua New Guinea remains an important market for Swire Shipping.
Could you tell our readers about your own career in shipping leading up to your current position?
Like most of our members (and indeed people in the industry), I didn’t grow up necessarily dreaming of being in the shipping and logistics industry, like one would an astronaut or a pilot. I was, however, always interested in foreign cultures and customs, pouring over dad’s collection of National Geographic magazines as a child, and with an equal interest in ships and aviation, a career in international logistics was a logical fit.
My career in shipping and logistics started as a fresh-faced young cadet in 2004, packing LCL/FAK containers from Australia to New Caledonia as well as handling general cargo, mostly from Europe and Asia into Australia.
I transitioned into specialised project logistics in 2013, managing long-term rail and rolling stock projects in Australia and New Zealand as well as several complex infrastructure projects in the Solomon Islands.
In 2021, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, I took a leap of faith into the unknown by moving from freight forwarding to the “other side” of the industry—shipping—by joining Swire Shipping, a company I had always admired from a customer’s perspective as a historically significant but forward-thinking organisation that was looking to diversify and adapt to changes in the logistics market. I’ve not looked back since.
Are you currently a member of any international networks?
Yes, CLC Projects Network
Looking into the crystal ball and with the geographical position that you are located in, how do you see the year of 2023 businesswise and project cargowise?
There are several high-profile, economically significant nation building projects underway and in the pipeline in Papua New Guinea, including Papua LNG, Porgera, Wafi-Golpu, P’nyang and Pasca A (all in the resources and mining space), PNG Ports (port infrastructure upgrade programs) and Lombrum (defence infrastructure).
With the complex nature of inland logistics in Papua New Guinea, it is important that these projects partner their supply chains with organisations who have the experience and in-country capabilities to deliver.
Swire Shipping has worked hard over the past 3 years to diversify our business activities, transforming our organisation from a typical port-to-port carrier to a fully integrated end-to-end logistics player with focus on the Asia-Pacific market as our core operating region. Papua New Guinea will remain at the heart of our operations, and we look forward to meeting the challenges ahead.
In which countries besides PNG are the Integrated Logistics division of Swire Shipping active?
Swire Shipping’s home is in the Pacific Islands. We’ve been present here for 150 years, and we are committed to serving the Pacific community for the next 150 years and beyond.
We’re operating our integrated logistics services not just in Papua New Guinea but also in Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Western Samoa as well as north and southeast Asia.
How would it be best for our readers to get in touch with you?
I am available via phone/whatsapp on +61 460 336 997 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If any of our members are traveling through Australia or Papua New Guinea, they are more than welcome to visit our offices to meet our teams and tour our operations.