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Bintulu Port seeks tariff hike

Tuesday, 22 September 2015 | 10:00

Bintulu Port Holdings Bhd (BPHB) will seek an upward tariff revision of between 20% and 30% in containerised and general cargo handling for Bintulu Port from the Federal Government.

Chief executive officer Datuk Mior Ahmad Baiti Mior Lub said the container tariffs were last revised in 1999, while the general cargo tariffs had not been adjusted since 1983.

He told StarBiz that BPHB had sent the proposals on the tariff revision to Bintulu Port Authority (BPA) early this year, but the latter had yet to submit them to the Federal Government.

Mior Ahmad hoped that this could be done soon, as BPA was supposed to have handed in the proposals to the authorities in July.

The major shareholders of the BPHB are Petroliam Nasional Bhd, state financial secretary Sarawak, Equisar Assets Sdn Bhd and Kumpulan Wang Persaraan.

Mior Ahmad said the proposed tariff revision was long overdue, as the operational cost in the handling of general cargo and containerised cargo had gone up substantially over the years.

BPHB, which is the port service operator for Bintulu Port, had recently obtained approval in principle from the Federal Government to extend the operations of Bintulu Port to 2052. In 2014, Bintulu International Container Terminal handled 270,495 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

The second phase, which will come into effect on Sept 1, 2018, is for another average approximate increase of 15%. The revised tariff covers container terminal handling charges for import, export, transhipment, shifting and re-stow, storage for containers and handling charges for heavy lift or uncontainerised cargo.

According to Mior Ahmad, containerised cargo volume for Bintulu Port has dropped by nearly 12% this year from 2014.

“The drop is mainly due to fewer timber products, like plywood, veneer and sawn timber, being shipped abroad and a drop in transhipment cargo from Miri and Sibu. This trend is expected to continue,” he added. Bintulu Port also handles transhipment cargo from Sabah.

In the first six months, the BPHB group’s net profit slipped to RM56.3mil from RM71.5mil in first half-2014 or down 21% on lower revenue of RM265.5mil compared with RM270.1mil previously.

On the development of the Samalaju deepsea port project undertaken by BPHB, Mior Ahmad said all the major work packages had been awarded and that BPHB had kept the project cost within its original budget of RM1.8bil. The new port was designed specificially to cater for energy-intensive industries in Samalaju Industrial Park within the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy.

The contract of the last package worth RM38.1mil was awarded to Senari Machinery Sdn Bhd in July-2015.

The contract is for the design, construction, delivery, installation, testing and commissioning of three units of level luffing crane complete with hopper and conveyor belt feeder.

The port is currently operational with interim facilities built for RM193.9mil.

The facilities include two wharves and a roll-on roll-off ramp, which are capable of handling up to four million tonnes of cargo, currently mostly project cargo, a year.

Ongoing works packages in various stages of implementation are capital dredging and reclamation (RM437mil), breakwater and associated works (RM306mil), wharf and associated works (RM311mil), electrical works and navigation aids system (RM47.5mil), conveyor system facilities (RM157mil) and administrative building and associated works (RM40.4mil). The eight packages are worth a combined RM1.53bil.

“These packages will be completed in stages next year. There are some delays in construction works of up to five or six months, but we hope to catch up,” he said.

The new port, which caters for handymax and handysize vessels, is scheduled to be fully completed by the third quarter of 2017.

It is expected to handle six million tonnes of cargo in the first year of its operation.

Industries which are in operation in Samalaju Industrial Park are Press Metal Bhd’s aluminium smelter, Japan’s Tokuyama Corp’s polycrystalline silicon plant, OM Materials (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd’s ferro silicon smelting plant and SIG Gases Bhd’s industrial gas plant.

The companies are using the Bintulu Port to ship out their finished products. Two manganese smelting plants owned by Permata Ferroalloys Sdn Bhd and Sakura Ferroalloys Sdn Bhd are expected to commence operations soon in Samalaju Industrial Park.
Source: The Star Malaysia

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