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  19th March 2012 - STAR MARITIME

BPHB in final talks on new port

KUCHING: Bintulu Port Holdings Bhd (BPHB) is in final talks with its major shareholders, including the Sarawak government, on the funding for the proposed Samalaju deepsea port project in Bintulu.

Chief executive officer Datuk Mior Ahmad Baiti Mior Lub said discussions should wrap up in the next three months.

The cost of the new port, which is designed to serve energy-intensive industries in Samalaju Industrial Park within the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score), is estimated at more than RM1bil.

The Sarawak government, through the State Financial Secretary, is BPHB’s second-largest shareholder with a 30.7% stake after Petroliam Nasional Bhd which owns 32.8%, according to BPHB 2011 Annual Report.

Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Diperbadankan) and Employees Provident Fund Board are the third and fourth-largest shareholders with about 9.5% and 3.2% stake respectively.

Mior Ahmad said construction works for the new port on 450ha was expected to begin early next year for full completion in 2016. “We will first build interim facilities, including berth for barges,” he told StarBiz.

He said the project’s first contract – site clearing and earthworks package – was awarded last month. The package will take four months to complete.

He said BPHB, which was tasked by the Sarawak government to implement the project, had invited bidders for the construction of the proposed barge berth, which would be 300m long with a water depth of 7m. Tender for the package closes on April 13.

“The interim facilities are expected to be ready by the end of this year and be operational in early 2013,” added Mior Ahmad.

He said the interim facilities would handle barges transporting building materials, equipment and other goods for the construction of manufacturing facilities by Score investors.

Four major investors – Press Metal Bhd, Asia Minerals Ltd, OM Materials (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd and Tokuyama Corp – are in various stages of constructing their plants in Samalaju Industrial Park. Their planned combined investments exceed RM9bil.


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