KUCHING: Hock Seng Lee Bhd (HSL) has completed the new 1.9km Durin bridge across Rajang River in central Sarawak.
Managing director Datuk Paul Yu Chee Hoe said the new bridge was completed last month despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The new bridge forms an integral part of Pan Borneo Highway project’s work package seven the company is undertaking.
The new bridge runs parallel to the existing two-lane bridge which was opened to traffic in 2006.
HSL and joint-venture partner Dhaya Maju Infrastructure (Asia) Sdn Bhd was awarded package seven of the highway project for RM1.6bil.
Spanning 76km, it covers Bintangor to Julau (28km) and Sibu-interchange to Sungai Gua Bridge (46km).
Considered as one of the most challenging packages, HSL said it involved the construction of 17 other bridges, two interchanges and two flyovers, seven pedestrian bridges and 79 bus shelters along the way.
Yu said the pandemic had resulted in the group’s productivity loss – which is still at roughly half of normal - causing increase in operating costs and fixed overheads.
“Challenging times remain for the construction industry, and HSL is not spared from issues faced by others. Labour shortages remain our chief problem, deeply limiting construction activities.
“Closed borders mean no foreign labour, and Sarawak’s own labour force has always been inadequate. This has led to higher salaries since the worker pool is much smaller.We do not forsee this matter resolving until the global health emergency is over, ” he added in a recent statement.
In third quarter ended Sept 30,2020, HSL group revenue fell to RM161.2mil from RM173.8mil in the corresponding period in 2019, with the construction segment and property development segment contributed RM147.5mil and RM13.6mil respectively to group turnover in the current quarter. Group’s net profit was down to RM10.9mil from RM14.6mil during the same period.
Yu expressed concern over the recent increase in the number of positive Covid-19 cases in Malaysia, saying that any movement restriction measures and even location-specific enhanced movement control order would have an impact on construction as the group’s projects span Sarawak and in different specialities.