Johor home to world’s first bitubale packaging plant

JOHOR BARU: Bitumen Bale Sdn Bhd is expanding by setting up the world's first bitubale packaging plant in the Pelepas Freezone. 

Managing director Gordon W. Thomas said it was the “right time'' for the company to expand and that the Pelepas Freezone was the perfect choice due to its strategic location. 

“It is located near the Port of Tanjung Pelepas, which will enable us to import and export bitumen more efficiently. 

“We are also excited that we are able to make it a reality in just a short time,” he said after the launch of the plant recently. 

Thomas said the plant aimed to package 800 tonnes of bitubale per day, which would translate into an estimated annual turnover of US$20mil.  

Gordon W. Thomas (left) and Johor Energy, Water and Communication Committeechairman Tan Kok Hong visiting the bitubale plant after the launch

“We have been involved in refineries in the past but are now focusing on the packaging of bitumen,” he said. 

He added that the company planned to set up at least 100 similar plants worldwide in the next 10 years. 

“So far, funds for nine plants have been approved and we are now working on another plant in Thailand while Mongolia, South Africa, Kazakhstan and Mexico have been identified as possible locations.'' 

Thomas said Bitumen Bale also planned to build a manufacturing plant near the newly launched plant as well as a research and development centre. 

“Hopefully, with the help of the State Government, we can expand much quicker. 

“We feel that Iskandar Development Region is an exciting concept,” he said, adding that the company planned to use local specialists for the research and development centre. 

Bitumen Bale, a subsidiary of Eastern Petroleum, is involved in the provision of petroleum services and has two refineries – in Malacca and Terengganu. 

The company also has a research and development centre in Malacca with sale offices in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Dubai.