Approval for Sarawak’s two new deep sea ports


KUCHING: The Sarawak government is going ahead with the construction of two new deep sea ports – in Kuching and Miri – to meet the needs of industries and attract investments.

In Miri, the proposed deep sea port will be located off Kuala Baram, while the proposed port in Kuching district will be sited in Tanjung Embang.

Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said about RM300mil has been allocated to fund the new deep sea port project off Kuala Baram.

“It is a reclaimed port with a depth of 12 m,” he said during a Hari Raya Aidilfitri gathering in Miri.

Northern Sarawak is currently served by the Miri Port, which is faced with longstanding shallow draft problems due to siltation at the mouth of the Baram River. This has rendered the port inaccessible to larger cargo vessels.

Last year, Abang Johari said the state government had approved funds to expand the Baram River into the sea, which is estimated to cost RM230mil.

On the new deep sea port project at Tanjung Embang, he said it will be built in the sea and not by the cape.

“The land walling work will be done in the sea, which means we will have a sea port that is connected to the coast. The connection will be from Tanjung Embang to Samarahan and Gedong,” he added.

Abang Johari, who is also a Gedong assemblyman, said if Osaka and Shanghai can build such ports, there is no reason Sarawak cannot do it.

The new deep sea port will complement the existing Senari Port here.

The new port might be developed in collaboration with a Belgium-based port authority.

In 2022, a memorandum of understanding was inked between Antwerp-Bruges Port and Sarawak-based logistic firm Hubline Bhd to explore a partnership in the development and operation of the new port at Tanjung Embang.

The Antwerp-Bruges Port is the second largest international container port in Europe and the 14th largest in the world.

The Sarawak government has accorded priority in the development and upgrading of port infrastructure under Post-Covid-19 Development Strategy 2030.

The other existing ports in Sarawak include Kuching, Sibu and Tanjung Manis.

Sarawak is expected to take over the Bintulu Port from the federal government this year.

According to Transport Minister Anthony Loke, the Bintulu Port Authority Act 1981 needs to be repealed first to facilitate the process of changing the status of the Bintulu Port from a federal port to a state port.

Abang Johari said as Sarawak is developing relatively new industries, such as hydrogen, these industries require a special terminal to be built in Bintulu Port to handle its cargo.

Bintulu Port is the largest liqeufied natural gas terminal in East Asia and the biggest container terminal in Sarawak and Sabah.

Via its sister port, Samalaju Industrial Port, the latter is a specially-designed port to handle import of raw materials and export of finished products from energy-intensive industries, such as aluminium and ferroalloy, operating in the adjacent Samalaju Industrial Park,

To manage all the ports in Sarawak, the Sarawak government will establish a Central Port Authority, according to Abang Johari.

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