New international port for Kudat envisioned for next year, says Bung Moktar

Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin (front row, middle) at the POIC Lahad Datu Port official declaration on Wednesday (June 29).

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah might see a new international port created in coastal Kudat, three hours away from Kota Kinabalu, if everything goes as planned.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin said plans were in the works to see this materialised next year.

Speaking at the ceremony for the official declaration of POIC Lahad Datu Port on Wednesday (June 29), Bung Moktar who is state Works Minister said having that facility in Kudat would offer competitiveness to other ports like in Klang, Hong Kong and Singapore.

"This will increase economic opportunities in Sabah," he said, however did not elaborate further on the matter.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Dr Joachim Gunsalam who is state Industrial Development Minister, said while the POIC Lahad Datu Port had been set up and in operation since 2013, it was restricted to the cargo of investors at the industrial park.

"It was not a proper facility because it was not legally declared as a public port until now, so we are hoping when this is opened (to the global market), it can proceed with operations like any other existing ports.

"We hope to increase the volume of container ships into Sabah ... if there are more coming, we hope the price of goods will be reduced. That is the government’s aspiration," he said but did not elaborate on how much increase they were looking at.

POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Fredian Gan in his speech earlier, has said that the Lahad Datu facility was expected to attract more shipping companies involved in exports and imports.

Gan reminded that several agreements have been inked with Korean and China companies recently, which would connect the POIC Lahad Datu Port as shipping routes connecting the two countries.

Meanwhile on the proposed new international airport in Lahad Datu which is one of the mega projects being worked on, Joachim said this was still in the planning stage despite being part of the "Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) halatuju" agenda.

“We are still looking in detail at the new location identified and conducting a feasibility study," he added.

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