BNG Trading : Tricks of the Trade

Josh RayfieldLily Sawyer
Josh Rayfield - Head of Projects Lily Sawyer - Editor
Highlights
  • BNG Trading commenced operations in 1924, and is PNG’s oldest and largest importer, distributor, and marketer of fast-moving consumer goods.
  • “We are very proud of our workforce and have a very diverse skill base throughout,” says Greg Baker, Group Sales and Marketing Manager, BNG Trading.
  • BNG works with some of the largest multinational consumer companies in the world, including Unilever, Lion Nathan, General Mills, Mars, Wrigley, Bakels, Kikkoman, and Woolworths Australia.

As Papua New Guinea’s largest distributor of consumer goods, BNG Trading can be considered a pioneer of the country’s retail sector. Greg Baker, Group Sales and Marketing Manager, tells us more about the company’s continued growth.

TRICKS OF THE TRADE

Competition between brands within the retail sector in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has intensified in recent years, both locally and internationally, as new companies emerge. 

As an international retail brand, BNG Trading (BNG) remains conscious of ongoing developments in the market.  

“The retail industry is always an exciting space to be working in. It is the heartbeat of PNG and is always a good indicator of how the economy is performing,” opens Greg Baker, Group Sales and Marketing Manager of BNG.   

BNG commenced operations in 1924, and is PNG’s oldest and largest importer, distributor, and marketer of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG).  

The company boasts a wide range of products, from food and beverage offerings commercial cleaning products.  

BNG’s head office, manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution centre in Port Moresby is where most of its activity takes place.  

A warehousing and distribution centre in Lae is also key to the company’s output, whilst other warehouses in located in Kiunga, Mount Hagen, Wewak, Manus, Buka, Rabaul, and Alotau play a significant role.  

Aside from owning successful brands, BNG works with some of the largest multinational consumer companies in the world, including Unilever, Lion Nathan, General Mills, Mars, Wrigley, Bakels, Kikkoman, and Woolworths Australia.  

ENABLING EVOLUTION

Originally established as BNG Trading Company in the early 1900s by Gal Loudin, when BNG stood for “British New Guinea”, the company has evolved significantly since its inception.   

Sold to Burns Philp & Co in 1930, BNG witnessed significant growth in the years before the Wallace family company, Baradeen Holdings, acquired it in 1998.  

“Having been with the company for over eight years, I’ve seen a number of changes in the FMCG industry that have provided both opportunities and challenges,” informs Baker.  

BNG acquired Papua Niugini Freezers in May 2005; now a notable division of the company, it offers a full range of lamb, pork, beef, chicken, seafood, and dairy products, expanding BNG’s overall portfolio.  

“Increased demand for affordable protein has seen our smallgoods business strengthen,” Baker elaborates.   

Additionally, BNG also recently acquired Wimble & Co, an affiliate that primarily supplies the printing industry.  

As the company continues to grow, major acquisitions such as Papua Niugini Freezers and Wimble & Co are pivotal to enabling BNG’s global outreach.   

However, more products entering the market from countries such as China, Indonesia, and other Southeast Asian countries are placing pressure on well-established Papua New Guinean brands that have been in the market for many years. 

“Greater competition amongst retailers and wholesalers has seen a shift in business from the old guard to the new,” Baker reflects.  

Despite growing external pressures, BNG has continued to evolve substantially.  

“The BNG brand now includes Antap PNG, our meat trading business; Blue Planet Logistics, providing logistics and shipping agent solutions; Bikpla.Net, providing connectivity and communication solutions; and QwikBai, offering end-to-end procurement services.”

DIVERSE DEVELOPMENTS

November 2023 was another milestone month for BNG, which saw operations commence at the PNG Protein Park, including a 180-strong live sheep import. 

The PNG Protein Park operation, which has been in development for the past four years, will officially be opened on 6th December 2023. 

“Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to a delay in getting this project started, however in November 2023, we were finally able to import sheep into Port Moresby for the start-up,” explains Baker.   

The importation of the sheep was a major logistical challenge, as they arrived by air. This required the involvement of various government departments to inform protocol and policy.   

The PNG Protein Park is based in Sorgeri, approximately a one-hour drive inland from Port Moresby.  

“The project is still in its preliminary stages. However, the longer-term goal is to breed, grow, and process lamb for supply to the domestic market. Watch this space!” excites Baker.  

In addition to the PNG Protein Park development, BNG has several of its own brands that are well known and popular in the FMCG sector, epitomising the company’s growth and development in recent years.  

“Our peanut butter brand, Peanutter, is very well known throughout PNG and has been in the market for 20 years,” Baker outlines.  

Further to this, BNG’s Bakery Delights, a range of home baking products including desiccated coconut, icing sugar, and cornflour, are packed locally at warehouses in PNG, where operations are expanding. Shortly, a new cake mix will be released under this brand.  

“We also launched our Five Masks brand in 2017, starting with wine, and we recently expanded it into both the tea and coffee categories,” he adds.  

SunBrite, launched earlier in 2023, is BNG’s household cleaning solutions label, whilst Kleen is another well-established brand, featuring a dish paste, dishwashing liquid, and sponges.   

BNG anticipates additional growth in the near future, as it looks forward to the launch of SeaKai’s range of canned mackerel products in early 2024.

“We are very proud of our workforce and have a very diverse skill base throughout”

Greg Baker, Group Sales and Marketing Manager, BNG Trading

WORKFORCE AND SUPPLY CHAIN

BNG currently employs over 700 employees and 50 expatriates within the business. As the country undergoes economic growth, primarily enabled by the mining sector, the company continues to expand.  

“We currently have 50 expats in the business, and we see this number growing. We are very proud of our workforce and have a very diverse skill base throughout,” Baker divulges.  

A large portion of BNG’s training is done on the job. This may occur in the office, store, warehouse, or container yard, depending on the needs of the employee.  

However, a range of contributing factors have resulted in changes to BNG’s workforce of late.  

“Maintaining skilled staff is always a challenge, particularly when working with mining and petroleum project start-ups,” Baker explains. 

A government scheme that has caused a recent drain on BNG’s labour is PNG’s overseas worker programme. The company has lost a number of staff to this programme, meaning that it must restart the training process with new recruits.  

Despite ongoing modifications to staffing, BNG remains steadfast in its supply chain operations, in which strong partnerships have provided a robust foundation for many years.  

“Supply chain and logistics, both domestic and international, are critical to our business. With a number of key raw materials for our smallgoods factory coming from overseas, we need an effective and efficient supply chain,” expands Baker.  

BNG’s key partner in this area is Blue Planet Logistics, who handles and manages all the company’s logistics requirements.   

BNG has a strong procurement team, both onshore in PNG and offshore in Australia, and deals with over 250 different suppliers on a regular basis. 

“We are very fortunate in that we have had long-standing relationships with a number of our key suppliers and service providers. Without them, we cannot do what we do on daily basis,” concludes Baker.

BNG TRADING PARTNER

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By Josh Rayfield Head of Projects
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Josh Rayfield is Head of Projects for Outlook Publishing. Josh is responsible for showcasing corporate stories in our digital B2B magazines and Digital Platforms, and sourcing collaborations with Business Leaders, Brands, and C-suite Executives to feature in future editions. Josh is actively seeking opportunities to collaborate. Reach out to Josh to discover how you and your business could be our next cover story.
By Lily Sawyer Editor
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Lily Sawyer is an in-house writer for APAC Outlook Magazine, where she is responsible for interviewing corporate executives and crafting original features for the magazine, corporate brochures, and the digital platform.