New smart container port to be built in Port Dickson, says Negri MB

SEREMBAN: A RM2bil smart container port will be built in Dickson Bay near Pasir Panjang in Port Dickson, making it the first such facility in the state.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun said the port, which will also be the first to use artificial intelligence systems in the country, will be built on an existing golf course covering a 192ha area.

"This will be the first container port in Negri Sembilan whose construction will be fully funded by the private sector.

"The owner will have to carry out several technical studies, including the Environmental Impact Assessment report, and they can then proceed with the construction," he told reporters at a signing ceremony between Midports Holdings Sdn Bhd, a 79%-owner subsidiary of Tanco Holdings Bhd and Mentri Besar Incorporated (MBI).

The state government has also agreed to alienate 33.6ha of the seabed off Dickson Bay for the construction of the terminal.

Both entities will set up a joint venture company which will serve as the development backbone of the project with Midports Holdings owning 80% and the balance by MBI.

The Transport Ministry has, in principle, given the go-ahead to the company to build the port pending the outcome of several technical and related reports.

Present to witness the signing ceremony was Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook.

The port, once built, will be able to accommodate first-generation to ultra-max container ships.

Loke said the area was also strategic for port construction as the border area between Negri Sembilan and Melaka had been gazetted as a port limit area in 2017.

"This smart container port, although located near the Kuala Linggi International Port in Melaka, will not be in direct competition as the latter will be more focused on the oil and gas sector.

"On our part, the government welcomes any private initiative and investment if it is to further improve our infrastructure such as port services," he said.

Loke said the government also has no plans to limit the number of ports along the Melaka Straits, which was among the busiest shipping routes in the world.

"Now we already have four or five ports such as in Penang, Port Klang, Tg Beruas in Melaka and Port of Tg Pelepas in Johor.

"In fact, we have also received queries for the construction of more ports such as in Yan (Kedah), Lumut (Perak) and Melaka," he said.

On the container volume to be handled at the smart port, Loke said this would be determined once the relevant studies have been completed and approved.

Tanco Holdings managing director Datuk Seri Andrew Tan in his speech expressed confidence that the port, once operational, would be able to contribute to the growth of the state's as well as national economies.

"This joint venture is an example of how the private and public sectors can work together to bring significant development for the people's benefit.

"Such projects can also help bring in foreign direct investment, help set up new industries and create thousands of jobs," he said, adding that the use of AI and smart technologies will further enhance the country's logistics capabilities and position Malaysia as a leader in automated and sustainable port operations.

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