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Saturday, 17 June 2017

(The Star) Liow: Even still under construction, berth section already booked

KUANTAN: The Kuantan Port expansion is proceeding smoothly, says Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

The Transport Minister said the first phase of the project to build berth space was expected to be completed by June next year.

“Even though it is still under construction, a berth section has already been booked by Alliance Steel. There are other companies that have also expressed interest in upcoming berths.

“This project will not be a white elephant as it can bring about lots of economic development to the country.

“IJM and Beibu are also committed to bring in more vessels from China,” Liow said after attending a briefing on the project’s progress at the Kuantan Port Authority here yesterday.

Kuantan Port Consortium Sdn Bhd, which has a 30-year concession to manage, operate and deve­lop Kuantan Port, is 60% owned by IJM Corp Bhd, with China’s Guangxi Beibu Gulf International Port Group owning 40%.

Currently, Kuantan Port is undergoing expansion into a deep-water port through a public-private partnership worth RM4bil.

A 4.6km long breakwater and one kilometre of berths are being constructed.

Liow said once completed, the new deep-water terminal at the port would have a maximum depth of 18m, enabling it to accommodate large vessels.

“Now, only small vessels can berth but by June next year, we are going to see some of the largest vessels berthing there,” he said.

Liow said the necessary infrastructure needed for cargo transportation between Kuantan Port and Port Klang through the East Coast Rail Link was also discussed.

“We need to plan ahead because transhipment through ports and railway is something new for us. Things like train depots and other infrastructure need to be in place.

“I am confident Port Klang and Kuantan Port can be developed for this,” he said.

Later, at the opening of the Pahang office of the Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce, Liow said locals must grab the opportunity to invest in the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP), considering the great incentives available.

“MCKIP is our first national industrial park. Investors can get a 15-year tax exemption after earning first profit. This is something locals must take advantage of to generate a more robust economy. We are not preparing all this infrastructure for foreigners but for locals as well,” he said.

Liow said the Kuantan Port area would also be developed as a port city.

He said Kuantan and the East Coast were bound to see rapid development with the slew of planned projects and the locals must not miss out on the opportunities.

“All these developments are only possible because of our multi-racial society, comprising citizens with diverse skills and abilities,” he said. He also performed the groundbreaking ceremony of a new two-storey block of classrooms for SJK(C) Pooi Ming.