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Sime Darby to invest RM1.4bil to expand Weifang port operations








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WEIFANG: Sime Darby Bhd plans to invest RM1.4bil in the next three years to expand its port operations in Weifang, China. The investment is for a five-year development plan for the port to increase the terminal annual handling capacity to 50 million tonnes of cargo by 2017 from the current 18 million. The total number of berths at the port is expected to be nearly double of what are available today.

On top of the earmarked RM1.4bil, a further RM350mil investment is being considered depending on economic factors. Sime Darby chairman Tun Musa Hitam said the expansion highlighted the growing importance of China to the group.

“We have come a long way in struggling to grow the port for the past seven years. But after the hard work we are now ready to expand and develop Weifang Port into a modern terminal,” he said before the signing of memorandum of understanding between Weifang Port and its five new customers committed to use the port facilities as well as with the Weifang City authority in facilitating all related documentation process on June 14.

Tun Musa added that China was now the strongest growth engine of the global economy and its economic status has a significant impact on the rest of the world and there is no doubt that it could become the world’s largest economy in the near future.

“China has attractive incentives and policies that create a conducive business environment for foreign investors like Sime Darby and we are certainly glad to be a part of its growth,” he said.

The Sime Darby group has operations in over 13 provinces in China. Weifang Port is established by the incorporation of Weifang Sime Darby Co Ltd, a joint venture between Sime Darby (HK) Ltd (80.6%), Sime Darby Utilities Sdn Bhd (18.4%) and Weifang Port Co Ltd (1%).

For the financial year ended June 30, 2011 (FY11), Sime Darby’s pretax profit from its China operations doubled to some RM600mil from RM300mil in FY10.

Weifang Sime Darby Port posted a turnover of RM90mil in FY11, more than double of what was achieved in FY07. Its profit before interest and tax rose to RM50mil in FY11 from RM25mil in 2007. This was mainly due to the rise in throughput handled by the port.

Sime Darby president and group chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Bakke Salleh noted the group’s commitment to China, particularly in the ports business where prospects remained bright.

“Our ports business is one of our key expansion strategies in China. We have ambitious plans to grow and we will double our efforts to make speedy progress. We want to be a leading port player in Shandong,” he said.

In general, Sime Darby has invested some RM10bil in China from 2007 until 2011. As of last year, the group specifically invested some RM1bil in its ports and utilities businesses in China.

Weifang Sime Darby Port is located in the prime region of Bohai Sea’s economic belt. It is 50km away from Weifang City, a prefecture-level city in central Shandong Province.


All together now: Sime Darby chairman Tun Musa Hitam (second from left) officiating the Sime Darby port exhibition in Weifang. With him are (from left) Weifang mayor Liu Shuguang, Weifang party secretary Xu Liquan and Sime Darby president and group CEO Datuk Mohd Bakke Salleh. – Bernama

SOURCE: The Star


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