Bintulu Port in RM400mil expansion

By Jack Wong

Bintulu Port Holdings Bhd is embarking on a RM400mil expansion project to develop a second inner harbour, said managing director Datuk Kapt Awangku Abdul Malit. 

The project would comprise a 1,000m general cargo wharf, a dedicated palm oil terminal and bulking facilities, and an operation building and yard, he said. 

“The contract for the RM330mil wharf has been awarded, and it is expected to be completed by 2006,” Awangku said after the company's AGM yesterday. 

He said the palm oil terminal and bulking facilities would be completed in the next few months. The terminal is expected to be operational by September. 

He said Bintulu Port had set up a wholly-owned company, BiPort Bulkers Sdn Bhd, to handle palm oil cargo, which has been experiencing steady growth. 

BiPort Bulkers is targeting to handle 1.1 million tonnes of palm oil this year, and with the new terminal and bulking facilities (the first among ports in Borneo), it is eyeing transhipment of palm oil and other edilble oils from southern Philippines and other countries besides the existing Sabah and Kalimantan markets. 

“We will consolidate palm oil cargo in Bintulu for exports to China, India and Europe,” Awangku added. 

Bintulu Port expects Sarawak's exports of palm oil to grow as the state government is targeting one million hectares of oil palm to be cultivated by 2010, with an average 70,000ha to be planted annually in the next seven years. 

Awangku said that as a transhipment hub in Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines/East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), Bintulu Port expects its transhipment containerised cargo to grow to 200,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) next year from the projected 160,000 TEUs this year. Last year, it handled more than 104,000 TEUs, or up 52% from 2002. 

Major shipping lines that serve Bintulu Port include Evergreen and Hubline. 

Company chairman Tun Mohd Eusoff Chin said that as an all-weather multi-purpose deepwater seaport, Bintulu Port would continue to maintain its leading position as the largest single liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the world. 

The group registered an overall cargo throughput of 29.07million tonnes for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2003. 

Eusoff said the group’s operating revenue last year was RM309.64mil, up RM36.31mil from 2002, while pre-tax profit rose to RM128.21mil from RM102.8mil previously. Stock Watch On BIPORT

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