THE country’s biggest and the world’s 16th largest transhipment terminal, Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP), may face difficulties in increasing berths beyond its phase 3 expansion plan due to reclamation works from the ambitious Forest City project near Tanjung Kupang, according to a source familiar with matter.
PTP, a 70% subsidiary of MMC Corp Bhd, is located at the west of the Forest City project in Johor.
According to previous media reports, the Forest City project is backed by the Johor royal family.
“Phase 3 of PTP’s expansion plan will see an additional three berths that will increase the terminal’s annual handling capacity to between 13 million and 14 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) from the present 10 million TEUs, which will be completed in two years’ time.
“Beyond this, the port would have problems in expanding as the Forest City project is lapping over the concession area of PTP. This may result in loss of competitiveness for the port against the massive expansion plan by ports in Singapore,” he tells StarBizWeek.
It has been reported that the project developer, China’s Country Garden Holdings, planned to raise a 2,000ha man-made island in the strait to build luxury homes over the next 30 years. Its partner in the project is Johor state company Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor.
It is also reported that a strip sandbank stretching from the mangrove swamps in the south of Johor Baru to the middle of the narrow Johor Strait can be seen from the Second Link some 2km away.
The sandbank is supposedly the first part of this massive project and will be expanded into a 49ha island, roughly the size of 70 football fields.
According to news reports, PSA Singapore Terminals continues to boost capacity via phase 3 and 4 of its Pasir Panjang Terminal. The development will add 15 new berths and nearly 19,700 ft of quay at drafts of up to 59 ft, taking total port capacity to more than 50 million TEUs units per year by 2020, up from its capacity of 35 million TEUs now.
Navigation of vessels
This concern has been raised by certain interested parties, but Johor Port Authority (JPA) in a news report said that coastal reclamation works would not affect the navigation of vessels in the waterway.
JPA general manager Muhammad Razif Ahmad was quoted as saying that all port operations were going on as usual and no vessel operators had reported obstacles caused by reclamation work along the straits.
“There have been no reports that port operations at the PTP, Pasir Gudang Port and Port of Tanjung Langsat are affected,” he said recently.
It is also alleged that reclamation works could increase the sedimentation and eventually raise the height of seabed leading to PTP.
PTP in 2012 embarked on a RM1.4bil expansion programme to cater to the new-generation 18,000 TEU vessels.
PTP has managed to entice Maersk Line to make the port as its regional transhipment hub, moving away from Singapore in 2009, where it also owns 30% of PTP through its port unit APM Terminals.
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