News:Asia

Malaysia’s Port Klang's Carey Island project could have 30m teu capacity

Malaysia has come up with another ambitious port project, this time possibly funded with Chinese money. Local media reported that a MYR200bn ($44.6bn) port-industrial city project is being planned on Carey Island, near the current Port Klang container terminal complex of Westport and North Port.

The project area covers over 100sq km and is anticipated to have a capacity of 30m teu when fully completed. The port project has a 20-year timeframe and will ultimately comprise the development of an integrated port and related infrastructure, industrial parks and free trade zones, commercial and residential buildings.

The project is seen as a solution to the perceived current congestion problems at Port Klang and would help it to compete with perennial neighbouring rival Singapore.

Malaysian conglomerate Sime Darby owns most of the island and inevitably will have a key part to play in the plan. It also has some port interests in China which it has been trying to list.

Port developers say they are open to interested parties from port operators, shipping lines and infrastructure developers from countries such as China, Japan, USA, UAE, India, however China has been specifically named as expressing interest.

Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai had presented the idea for the project to his counterpart in China as long as six months ago, inviting them to jointly develop Carey Island into a deep-sea port that could also service Chinese ships plying the strait. There have been discussions with China Merchants Group, which has recently made massive investments in port infrastructure globally and especially in line with China's latest One Belt and Road policy.

The proposed port-city would cater for container traffic as well as bulk, liquid and car carriers, and would also provide maritime services that include bunkering, ship repairing and maintenance.

 The first phase of development is expected to take about six to seven years if the project is launched this year.

Posted 11 January 2017

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Vincent Wee

Hong Kong and SE Asia Correspondent, Seatrade Maritime News