Malaysia aims to be a regional transshipment hub
Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook said on Thursday that Malaysia seeks to become China’s transshipment hub for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Delivering the opening address at the International Forum in Kuala Lumpur, Loke said Malaysia’s strategic position in the region with a large number of ports facing the South China Sea and Malacca Strait and commitment to the Belt and Road initiative make it an ideal candidate.
“The historic presence of China in Malaysia, particularly in Melaka during the era of the ancient Silk Road, inspired the establishment of a ‘port alliance’ network between the two countries,” Loke said.
“It is my fervent hope that this alliance is further optimized in an effort to augment Malaysian ports capacity,” he said.
The alliance was set up in 2015. It covers 12 Chinese ports and nine Malaysian ports, and it includes capacity building, sharing of expertise, port studies and technical assistance.
Loke pointed to the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP), the first industrial park to be jointly developed by Malaysia and China, as an example of the way forward.
“In line with the Belt and Road initiative, Malaysia and China have also jointly established two industrial parks – one in Kuantan Malaysia, and the other in Qinzhou, [South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region].”
“In optimizing the flow of trade and investment between Malaysia and China, Kuantan Port offers investors in MCKIP the fastest route to China’s Qinzhou Port, its sister port, in just three to four days,” he said.
The minister also said the involvement of Chinese companies in Malaysia’s major rail projects has helped Malaysia to increase its capacity and gradually upgrade rail services.
One of the projects is an electrified double-tracking project, being undertaken by a consortium of State-owned Chinese companies in southern Malaysia. Upon completion in 2021, the 197-kilometer line will boost domestic and regional connectivity.
Loke also said the opening of the CRRC Rolling Stock Center in Batu Gajah, Perak by the Chinese train manufacturer was another path to Malaysia becoming a regional hub, this time for the rail industry.
The rolling stock center offers onestop rail solutions covering assembly, testing, maintenance and repair for locomotives and rolling stock as well as other transport equipment.
“The establishment of the center... has also generated more than 800 job opportunities for the locals,” he said. Xinhua