Port operator to start building Rm3bil deepwater terminal by the end of the year
IJM Corp Bhd’s port business, via Kuantan Port Consortium Sdn Bhd (KPC), is expected to start construction of its new RM3bil deepwater terminal by year-end.
Kuantan Port, the most prominent maritime terminal in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, will double up its capacity by the end of the expansion to 52 million freight weight tonnes (fwt) per year.
This should transform it to a megasized port from its current feeder port status.
This sizeable expansion plan, comparable to other mega-port expansions that are currently taking place in the country, is riding on the entrance of a strategic investor from China and the hinterland development plan in Kuantan.
IJM’s wholly owned unit, Road Builder (M) Holdings Bhd, had entered into a memorandum of understanding with China’s Guangxi Beibu Gulf International Port Group Co Ltd for the disposal of a 40% stake in KPC for RM310mil early this year, with the definitive agreement to be inked soon.
Guangxi Beibu is currently operating four ports, namely, Fangchenggang Port, Qinzhou Port, Tieshan Port and Beihai Port, in southern China.
According to IJM chief executive officer and managing director Datuk Teh Kean Ming (pic), phase 1 of the expansion is expected to cost RM2bil.
Construction should begin by yearend.
“The construction should take two to three years to complete. The Government is building a breakwater in the sea that would complement our expansion at the moment.
“Our expansion includes the construction of a new wharf, the procurement of equipment as well as dredging.
“All these should be conducive factors to attract ultra-sized ships to call on our port,” he told StarBiz recently.
Teh said in the IJM Group, the port business came under the infrastructure division alongside toll concession that recorded a total revenue of RM474.1mil in the last financial year ended March 31. From the amount, the port contributed about RM200mil.
On demand, Teh said it would come from containers and bulk cargoes.
“Under the East Coast Economic Region master plan, Kuantan Port City has been identified as the integrated industrial and logistics hub for the region.
“The industrial activities expected to be developed include the Kuantan Integrated Biopark, the bio-fuel industrial cluster, the downstream petrochemical cluster, iron and steel industries and the automotive cluster.
“The catalyst for building this deepwater terminal is due to the current port reaching its maximum handling capacity in the next few years, as well as fulfilling the demand for bigger ships in tandem with the evolution of ships.
“Bigger ships calling would enable Kuantan Port to be a transshipment hub in the region,” he said.
Kuantan Port is strategically located facing China, which is destined to be the world’s biggest economy, and is one of the biggest trading partners of Malaysia today.
SOURCE: The Star, 22 July 2013.