Sabah lacks shipping line calls — MD
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah remains unattractive for foreign investment in its economic and industrial development because of the high cost of doing business caused mainly by the lack of shipping line calls.
Group managing director of Suria Capital Holdings Berhad (SCHB) cum Managing Director of Sabah Ports Sdn Bhd (SPSB), Ng Kiat Min said however that Sabah has high potential of becoming the cargo gateway for East Malaysia and the larger BIMP-EAGA.
She said that Sabah was well positioned for regional shipping due to its proximity to North Asian countries and relatively focal location among the countries of Brunei, Indonesia and Philippines.
She also said that in recent years, SPSB has been pursuing port expansion to put adequate port infrastructure and equipment in place to support the growth of the State economy.
“From inception in 2004 till end of 2017, SPSB would have spent a total RM978 million, RM553 million being spent on infrastructures and RM424.60 million on equipment,” she said.
She added that all the amounts are funded by SPSB through borrowings and internal generated funds.
“As a supply driven initiative, in February 2016, the Federal Government has approved an allocation of RM1.02 billion to develop Sapangar Bay Container Port (SBCP) into a transshipment hub, a project earmarked under the 11th Malaysia Plan,” she said.
Ng also said that an integral portion of Sabah Ports Master Plan was dedicated towards developing port facilities for the State, planning growth strategies and most crucial, advocate for SBCP as a transshipment hub.
“In order to realise Sapangar Bay’s potential, Sabah Ports is looking towards establishing greater connectivity through international Main Line Operators (MLOs), container consolidation via hub and spoke system and developing logistics facilities for a greater Sapangar,” she said.
Ng also shared that the development of SBCP was needed to balance the export and import activities at the port which currently has high percentage of import activities at 80 percent compared to export.
She said that the proposed port master plan was expected to serve as a blueprint to further develop the seaport and logistics industry in Sabah for the next 30 years.
At the same time, Ng also said that for Sapangar Bay Oil Terminal which caters for all the bulk oil requirement for the west coast, they were ready to commission a new jetty extension as the existing jetty was near full utilization.
“With good location and adequate facilities, Sapangar Bay Oil Terminal has the potential to grow as an oil and gas distribution hub,” she said.
She also mention that at the Sapangar Bay Oil depot, they had nine tanks with the capacity of 3,000 metric tonnes available for bulk oil storage.
She also informed that early this year, the Sapangor Bay Oil Terminal has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with KA Petra Sdn Bhd for the leasing of the Sapangar Bay Oil depot.
“The facility shall act as a supply hub for diesel and bitumen distribution, catering particularly for domestic consumption as well as South East Asia demands,” she said.
Ng also shared that with the relocation of the general cargo to Sapangar, Sabah Ports plan to create an integrated linkage of containers, liquid and general cargo will finally materialise.
“The Sapangar Bay Integrated Port will encourage industrialisation and manufacturing growth at Sapangar thus laying the foundation for free trade zones and other economic initiatives to take place in the vicinity,” she said.
Ng also said that after the relocation of the general cargo port to Sapangar Bay, in a few years, Suria Group will be undertaking the construction of a dedicated international cruise terminal at the Kota Kinabalu Port which will serve as a marine gateway as well as second entry point to Kota Kinabalu.
“Kota Kinabalu Port has been identified as one of the three ports alongside Penang and Klang as having the potential to contribute significantly to the Malaysian cruise industry. The dedicated cruise terminal at KK will complement other Suria Group developments such as Jesselton Quay and One Jesselton Waterfront,” she said.
Ng (standing, second right) and guests at SPSB’s Customer Appreciation Dinner.