Transport sector dips, infocomms industry rises in Brunei amid restrictions

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/Asia News Network): While the Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected the development of the Sultanate’s transportation sector, the info-communication sector has shown positive growth, according to recent data from the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC).

MTIC had published data on the development of the transport and the infocommunication sectors from 2016 to the second quarter of 2021, in collaboration with departments, agencies and authorities under the ministry.

Infocommunications Sector

The consumer landscape for telecommunication services has changed in 2020 with the introduction of the UNN and subsequently the impact of Covid-19, said the MTIC.

The sector has shown a cumulative increase from 2016 until August 2021.

Last year, ‘mobile broadband’ subscribers decreased by 16.5 per cent while “fixed broadband” subscribers increased by 30.7 per cent, which the ministry said is caused by an increase in the use of Internet for online school learning and work from home as well as product promotions from telecommunication companies.

The ministry said the onset of the first wave of Covid-19 in 2020 has led to a drastic increase in the use of the portal, showing 16,268 activated accounts out of 27,176 registered users.

A total of 77 cases related to cybercrime had been recorded from January to August this year. Seventy-five cases were related to ‘cyber-enabled crime’ while the remaining two were classified as ‘cyber-dependent crime’.

A total of 302 reports on cyber incidents were received via phone call, WhatsApp or online form. The ministry said they received the highest number of reports in August this year (59).

In line with other government services, 2020 set a record of having the highest number of call through Darussalam Line 123 with 441,589 compared to 336,669 calls in 2019.

As of August, a total of 321,341 calls had been made, with the number expecting to increase due to the outbreak of the second wave of Covid-19 in the country.

Transport Sector

Public buses experienced an overall decline in terms of passenger volume – up to 36 per cent from 2019 – due to Covid-19 control measures.

Application for driving and vehicle licences online showed an increase of 215 per cent from the previous years, said the ministry.

The air transport sector which includes aircraft services, passenger movement and cargo experienced a decline as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic after four years (2016-2019) of positive growth. The country has restricted travelling in and out of the country as part of Covid-19 control measures, resulting in a decrease in passenger movement by 80.7 per cent for incoming passengers and 81.2 per cent for outgoing passengers compared to the previous year.

Statistics also recorded a 69 per cent decrease of aircraft movements at the Brunei International Airport in 2020. For incoming cargo, the highest record was in 2019 at 14,500,107 kilogrammes and for outgoing cargo the highest was recorded in 2018 at 10,445,281 kilogrammes.

The volume of air cargo in and out of the country has decreased after the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country last year.

The ministry said there was a significant decline in the number of passenger, cargo and container ships docked at Muara Port due to Covid-19 control measures. However, “car carriers” passing through the port showed an increase every year from a total of 52 to 57.

In relation to the number of trans-shipments, a comparison between 2020 and up until August this year shows a very significant difference, increasing eight to 326 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units).

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Brunei , transport , infocommunications , pandemic


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