Friday, 11 May 2012

Works on RM1.5b Samalaju Port to start in January next year

KUCHING (May 11): Works on the interim facilities for the proposed development of the RM1.5 billion Samalaju Port near Bintulu is expected to start by January next year, BINTULU PORT HOLDINGS BHD [] chief executive officer Datuk Mior Ahmad Baiti Mior Lub Ahmad said on Friday.

He said the proposal on the general layout had been submitted to the State Planning Authority on Dec 8, 2011 while PricewaterhouseCoopers had already conducted all the relevant studies and recommendations, including for project funding.

"We are now in the final stages of concluding the deal and the funding aspect has been discussed with our major shareholders involving Petronas, Sarawak State Financial Secretary and Kumpulan Wang Persaraan," he told reporters after Bintulu Port's annual general meeting here.

He said tenders involving several packages for the full development of the port, which was located under the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score), would be called soon.

Once fully operational, he said, Samalaju Port was expected to handle an annual cargo throughput of 18 million metric tonnes compared with 16 million tonnes of non Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) cargo currently being handled by Bintulu Port.

However, he was confident the cargo volume could rise up to 30 million metric tonnes annually, according to demand, in view of the potentials in the oil and gas industry as well as bulk fertiliser trade during the first phase of development.

The company had been given the task to build, own and operate the proposed port on some 450 hectares of land earmarked by the Sarawak government, he said.

He said Samalaju Port is to serve industries located at Samalaju Industrial Park, 60 km from Bintulu Port and its infrastructure development would be planned accordingly to serve the anticipated cargo generated by the industries within the Score.

Meanwhile, Mior Ahmad Baiti said crude palm oil (CPO) cargo had overtaken container cargo as one of the leading contributors to Bintulu Port's revenue.

With containers being handled at the port relegated to the third leading revenue contributor, he said, the sector saw a drop to 215,451 TEUs (20 foot equivalent units) in 2011 from 251,296 TEUs in 2010.

The group cargo throughput rose by 2.65 per cent to 41.70 million tonnes in 2011 from 40.61 million tonnes in 2010.

LNG still remained the major contributor with 24.89 million tonnes of cargo throughput and the remaining 16.81 million tonnes from non LNG cargoes, he said. — Bernama

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