KUCHING: The Samalaju Industrial Port (SIP) operated by Bintulu Port Holdings Bhd (BPHB) group is gearing up for a major boost in cargo-handling volume when an integrated phosphate plant nearby is operational.
The deepsea port, which was designed and built to cater for the energy-intensive industries in the adjacent Samalaju Industrial Park, Bintulu, will also benefit from the commissioning of Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Bhd’s new Phase 3 aluminium smelting plant and the soon-to-be constructed mega-steel plant.
According to BPHB group chief executive officer Datuk Mohammad Medan Abdullah, SIP is expected to handle one million tonnes of new cargo from Malaysian Phosphate Additives (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd (MPAS).
“This will bring in an additional revenue of about RM23mil (annually), ” he said in the company’s newly released 2020 annual report.
SIP, which is operated by BPHB’s wholly-owned subsidiary Samalaju Industrial Port Sdn Bhd, recorded total cargo throughput of 4.71 million tonnes in 2020.
Mohammad Medan said its short-term target is to increase the cargo-handling volume to six million tonnes per annum. MPAS is a 60%-owned subsidiary of Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd (CMS) via wholly-owned unit Samalaju Industries Sdn Bhd.
Under Phase 1 of MPAS’ project, three integrated plants are being built to produce yellow phosphorus, technical grade phosphoric and food grade phosphoric acid.
Construction work for the Phase 1 project, according to CMS last month, is still progressing although it was originally slated to start production by end-2020.
On Press Metal’s Phase 3 smelter, Mohammad Medan said SIP facilitated the upgrading of conveyors and installation of the third pneumatic ship unloader within the port area. The conveyors are used to transport raw material direct to the company’s smelting plant.
Press Metal’s Phase 3 smelter will raise the group’s production capacity to 1.08 million tonnes a year from 760,000 tonnes a year. The new smelter is expected to operate at full capacity in second-half 2021.
Mohammad Medan said the International Trade and Industry Ministry recently approved the integrated steel plant project in Samalaju Industrial Park to be undertaken by China’s Wenan Iron & Steel Co Ltd.
The agreed allowable production capacity of the plant is 5.7 million tonnes per year in the first 10 years.
Earthworks for the project are expected to begin in mid-2021, with and the plant’s construction work to follow in early 2022. The plant is targeted for completion in mid-2024.
The steel plant will be a “game changer” for SIP, according to BPHB.