‘Welcome to Lae Port, the Gateway to Growth and Prosperity’, the sign on the massive billboard at the main gate to Papua New Guinea’s busiest and biggest sea port read.
To the busy customers, the greeting meant little to them as they were more concerned with their cargo exchanges and how soon they could get their job done and be gone.
But for one person, it was a tale of bitter and sweet memories spent growing and working around the wharf area.
The words on the billboard were the corporate tagline used by PNG Ports Corporation Limited (PNG Ports) on its billboards across the 15 ports it owns and operates, but to Pamela Kennedy, the words hit just a little deeper.
Pamela had a life always associated with the ports; growing and prospering with the ports.
Her mother, Elizabeth Sambuk, was a long serving staff with PNG Ports and retired on December 31, 2015 after clocking 40 years as the Wewak Port Finance Officer.
Pamela, Ms Sambuk’s only child, now at the good age of 40, just resigned as well after serving PNG Ports over the last 20 years.
After completing Grade 12 at Saint Patricks Girls College in Townsville, Australia, she commenced employment with PNG Ports (formerly PNG Habours Board) on July 3, 1997 as a clerk, then worked her way up to be the Lae Port Statistic Officer.
This Sepik woman regrets not being able to beat the years served by her mother but made the life changing decision to resign in order to be a full time mum to her four children.
One thing she will miss for sure about PNG Ports is the staff perks and privileges and the way the company rewards its staff in monetary and non-monetary terms.
“For me, when I was given a unit to live in at Abel Tasman Street (PNG Ports institutional property), I was overwhelmed, because I knew I was loyal and faithful to PNG Ports and will never forget that in my life,” she said.
“My advice to my (now former) colleagues is to never forget how well off you are. Your family is precious, time is priceless and health is true wealth,” she said, calling on PNG Ports staff to commit themselves to their roles in a vibrant and growing company that looked after its staff well.
Before leaving, she had one recommendation though, and that was for PNG Ports to facilitate more training programs aimed at skill and knowledge enhancement in order for employees to deliver better outcomes.