‘‘COOPERATIIVE MODEL’’ CAN BOOST MUARA PORT CAPACIITYsqwcgadmin
A “SUCCESSFUL cooperative model” will boost Muara port’s container capacity to about five times more than its current volume in a few years time, a senior Chinese government official said yesterday.
Peng Qinghua, Secretary of the Communist Party of China’s Guangxi Committee and Chairman of the Standing Committee of Guangxi People’s Congress, proposed the Brunei government and the state-owned ports operator Guangxi Beibu Gulf International Port Group Co Ltd can jointly manage the Muara port by forming a cooperative. He said this will increase the port’s container throughput from its current 220,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) to one million TEUs by the year 2021.
“In five to six years, we are going to increase the capacity to one million TEUs per year. This will intensify economic trade between both countries. Brunei will (also) have better access to the Chinese market,” Peng said speaking through a translator.
He said this during a bilateral meeting between senior officials from the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources and a delegation from Guangxi province held at The Empire Hotel & Country Club.
Peng said a cooperation between the Brunei government and Guangxi Beibu will not only benefit Brunei but also other ASEAN countries.
“It will result in the growth of port-related industries and drive forward the development of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asia Growth Area,” he said.
Peng said Guangxi Beibu, which has extensive experience in ports management and shipping logistics, has invested US$100 million to acquire a 40 per cent stake of Kuantan Port Consortium Sdn Bhd and co-manage one of Malaysia’s key shipping ports. He’s hoping to extend the same “cooperation model” for Muara port.
Peng said that the cooperation will also see Muara port being integrated into the group’s “one-way shipping route.” This will extend the cargo and passenger shipping route from the seaport city of Qingdao in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong to Kuantan in Malaysia and then to Muara in Brunei.
Meanwhile in his welcoming remarks, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar, the Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, said more concrete projects are needed to “actualise” the Brunei-Guangxi Economic Corridor.
He said the ministry will assess and identify cooperative projects to know more about project ownership and partnerships.
In a September 2014 report, Pehin Dato Hj Yahya said the economic corridor will create a direct shipping connection between Brunei and Guangxi. He also met with officials from Guangxi Beibu to discuss a potential direct route between the port city of Qinzhou and Bandar Seri Begawan. The link will reduce shipping time and transport costs.