LOCAL company Windsor Trade Sdn Bhd will build, finance and operate a RM315mil integrated barter trade terminal in Sandakan, Sabah.
It will finance the project through a combination of equity and an Islamic bond issuance.
The terminal will be developed on 46 acres in the Batu Sapi area of Sandakan.
To be completed in three years, it will have a grain warehouse, bunkering area, a customs, immigration and quarantine complex, and a commercial centre.
Windsor Trade executive director Tengku Shaifful Bahri Tengku Zainal Abidin said the terminal was slated to become the barter distribution and transhipment hub for the region.
This is the first time an integrated and modern terminal is being built in the country to cater to the needs of barter traders, he told StarBiz in an interview in Shah Alam yesterday.
Tengku Shaifful said Sandakan was chosen because of its strategic location, being near the Philippines, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea where a lot of commodities and natural resources had been traded with the West for centuries.
Groundwork for the port project is scheduled to be carried out in July.
He said that when completed, the terminal would cater to traders from Japan, China, Singapore, South Korea, the US, Thailand, Germany, Brunei, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
It is learnt that Sabah carried out barter trade with a total value of over RM50mil with the Philippines and Indonesia during the first six months of last year. We expect to complete the jetty in two years, and by the third year, the commercial area, which includes a hotel and a commercial centre to support the barter trade terminal, he said.
There will also be facilities for customs clearance, immigration, security and a cargo storage area for barter ships of 150 gross tonnage.
Among the goods to be exchanged will be grain like maize and rice, timber, food products, livestock, palm oil, electrical products, beverages, tobacco and chemicals.
The beauty about barter trade is that it is a cashless transaction. Therefore, the trade is not affected by the fluctuation of currencies, he said.
The cargo and merchandise will be brought to our terminal where we will provide them with the most sophisticated storage system and facilities.
Tengku Shaifful said the terminal would provide job opportunities for at least 300 people as it would cater to about 90 vessels of 150 gross tonnage each per day.
Also, there is potential for complementary development in the future, including a marina to help boost tourism as well as a mixed development project on the vast tracts of land near the terminal.
We are positioning the barter trade terminal to be a catalyst of growth for Sandakan, and Sabah as a whole, and we invite foreign traders to take advantage of the opportunities and facilities we will be providing, he said.
On the methods of financing the project, Tengku Shaifful said 80% would be by way of an Islamic bond issue to be arranged by Amanah Short Deposits Bhd and the balance 20% would be through equity injection by new investors.
Windsor Trade will manage the barter trading services without any financial assistance from the Government, he said.