The Malaysian state of Sabah has unveiled a masterplan to upgrade and expand its ageing ports. Sabah Ports, a subsidiary of the publicly listed conglomerate Suria Capital Holdings, in which the state government has a 50% interest in through nominees, is responsible for the works.
It holds a 30-year concession, which started in 2004, to manage the eight ports in the state. The plan covers the ports of Sandakan, Sapangar Bay Container Port, Lahad Datu Port, and Tawau. It follows authorities saying that ports in the state, which were built over the 1970s and 1980s, have lagged the growing economic activity in the east coast of Sabah. The concession terms oblige Sabah Ports to invest at least MYR1.4 billion (USD342.5 million) in upgrading the infrastructure during its tenure.
Until now, Sabah Ports has already spent MYR1.03 billion (USD250 million) on upgrading the facilities. Work on the port of Sandakan, which handles palm oil cargoes, general cargoes, containers, and dry bulk, is ongoing. Officials said that Sandakan’s strategic location, on the northeast coast of Borneo, means that the port has the potential to become a transhipment and logistics coast in the east coast of Sabah and the East ASEAN Growth Area.
In August 2018, a new wharf at Sandakan was already completed, taking the total berth length to 495 m and enabling the port to accommodate six merchant ships at once. The new wharf took two years to build, at a cost of nearly MYR130 million (USD31.6 million).
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