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Minister confident of Sabah’s new container terminal

Pleased with the development of Sepangar Bay Container Terminal at Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, the Federal Minister of Transport Datuk Chan Kong Choy said his ministry would be working closely with the State Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Sabah Port Authority to enhance the competitiveness of the port.
The new gateway port terminal built at a cost of RM400 million is scheduled to commence operations 1 June.
The federal government through the Ministry of Transport provided a soft loan of RM193 million to Sabah Port Bhd – RM150 million had been spent to develop the terminal and RM43 million to upgrade the port’s cargo handling equipment.
“The money had been very well spent and we are very happy and it had also helped the port to increase its productivity,” the Minister said after a visit to the container terminal on 21 May.
During the visit to the terminal, the Federal Transport Minister met officials from the port operating company, Sabah Ports Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Suria Capital Holdings Bhd, state government officials and also representatives of port user organizations.
The RM400 million container terminal, that will replace container handling operations at Kota Kinabalu port, is one of the largest port development projects carried out in the state which has witnessed strong demand for port facilities and services consistent with its industrialization and economic growth.
The Minister was pleased to note that throughput increased by 8.5 per cent to 15,1000 TEUs last year from 14,100 TEUs in 2005.
“So if the growth can be sustained this year we can expect to see Kota Kinabalu Port handling some 200,000 containers. The port has done a good job.
“The container crane productivity had also increased to 10 containers per hour and once everything is in place the volume can go up to 20 containers per hour,” he said.
Container traffic in the first quarter of this year posted a commendable 21 per cent growth totaling 51,800 TEUs after a full year growth totaling 226,700 TEUs the previous year.
The new container terminal, which will be equipped with four state of the art shore-side mobile cranes and supported by three high reach stackers for landside operations, will have an installed capacity to handle 500,000 TEUs per annum.
The terminal which draws a liner berth of more than 400 metres long, will be able to serve ships up to 3,500 TEUs size.
According to the group managing director of Suria Capital Holdings Bhd, Datuk Abu Bakar Abas, the new Sepangar Bay Container Terminal was expected to emerge as an important gateway and transshipment hub serving beyond the needs of the state with an extended outreach covering the BIMP-EAGA region.
The Sabah’s new gateway container terminal has in fact made an auspicious start with the successfully clinching one of the most important regional shipping specialists in its bid to become a regional transshipment hub.
The container terminal has won over Hub Line which is expected to privdie the catalyst in extending the transshipment outreach of the Sabah port to several ports in Asia.
Hub Line which operates several dedicated service strings in the intra Asia trade will link Sepangar Bay Container Terminal with several ports in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mynmar and Bangladesh with inter-connecting service strings that includes calls at Port Klang as well.
Hub Line’s branch manager, Joseph Moo said the shipping line has decided to focus its transshipment operations at Sepangar Bay Container Terminal in view of the state of the art facilities.
“We are happy with the new facilities and the assurance on shipside productivity provided by the port operating company,” he said in Kota Kinabalu.
He noted that the recent improvement in productivity to 18 gross moves had exceeded industry expectations and the port operating company had assured it would try to further improve the rate to beyond 20 gross moves.
Welcoming the initiatives of the Sabah Port Sdn Bhd and Suria Capital Holdings Bhd to improve the performance of the ports in the state, James Lee, president of the Sabah Shipping Agents Association said the commissioning of the new port terminal augured well for the development of the state.
“We are happy with the various efforts made to improve the port performance and productivity since privatization of the seven ports in the state to Sabah Ports Sdn Bhd,” he said.
Chief Operating Officer of Sabah Ports Sdn Bhd, Haji Ramli Abu Samah said commissioning of the Sepagar Bay Container Terminal will herald a new chapter in the development of the port industry in Sabah and will set the scene for an expanded role of the gateway port in the regional ports system.


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