KUCHING: The RM1.8bil Samalaju Industrial Port, which is slated to be fully operational in June, will impose port tariffs based on the cargo throughput of each customer.
According to Bintulu Port Holdings Bhd’s (BPHB) finance and investment committee chairman Datuk Nasarudin Md Idris, the tariffs will vary from one port user to another, depending on the cargo volume.
“If you are a bigger throughput user of the port, then the tariffs are lower,” he said after BPHB’s AGM here on April 21.
Nasarudin said the tariffs were determined after discussions with the Sarawak state government, as the new deep-sea port was part of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy initiative.
The new port, which is operated by BPHB’s wholly-owned subsidiary Samalaju Industrial Port Sdn Bhd (SIPSB), is purpose-built to cater primarily to the energy-intensive industries located in the adjacent Samalaju Industrial Park (SIP) in Bintulu.
Nasarudin said the port had to consider how much it could charge users while attracting new investors to SIP when working out the tariffs.
However, he did not give details on the tariffs or a comparison with the general cargo and container tariffs of Bintulu Port.
The Samalaju Port’s interim facilities, which have been operational since April 2014, comprised two barge berths and a ro-ro ramp.
The pioneer investors in SIP are Press Metal Bhd, which is South-East Asia’s largest aluminium smelter with a total smelting capacity of 760,000 tonnes per annum, OM Materials (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd, Sakura Ferroalloys Sdn Bhd and Permata Ferroalloys Sdn Bhd – the owners of ferrosilicon and manganese smelters.
Another major investment is in a polycrystalline silicon plant by Japan’s Tokuyama Corp, which is expected to complete the sale of the plant to South Korea’s OCI Co Ltd this month.
Currently under construction in SIP is a proposed billion-ringgit phosphate additives plant, which is expected to commence operations next year. The plant will have a production capacity of 500,000 tonnes per annum.
The new port is equipped with facilities to deliver raw materials direct to manufacturing plants in SIP via a conveyor belt system. These raw materials are now transported by lorries to the plants.
Its full operations will benefit the energy-intensive industries in logistics cost, as most of the industries are now using Bintulu Port, which is located about 45km away.
Based on statistics, the Samalaju Port’s total cargo throughput rose sharply to 450,019 tonnes – comprising import cargo of 403,944 tonnes and export cargo of 49,074 tonnes – last year from 71,183 tonnes in 2015.
SIPSB has projected the cargo throughput to increase steadily to some 11.2 million tonnes in 2019 when all the industries in SIP achieve maximium throughput. This year, it is targeting to handle 145 vessel calls and about 2.14 million tonnes of bulk cargo.
Meanwhile, BPHB new group chief executive officer Datuk Mohammad Medan Abdullah said despite a challenging environment, Bintulu Port recorded increases in cargo throughputs in all major categories last year. It saw overall cargo volume rising by 3.7% to 46.5 million tonnes from about 44.8 million tonnes in 2015.
The port handled 277,777 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) containers last year against 243,699 TEUs in 2015. Liquefied natural gas cargo, the port’s main revenue contributor, increased marginally to 25.24 million tonnes from 25.09 million tonnes during the same period.
“Bintulu Port has been successful in securing contracts for the provision of base support services to oil and gas-related companies such as Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd, Petronas Floating LNG Sdn Bhd and Murphy Oil Sarawak.
“This involves the provision of storage areas (warehouse and open space), material handling equipment, cargo handling equipment, passenger handling, pilotage, the supply of container carrying units and other services,” he added.
On the performance of Biport Bulkers Sdn Bhd, also 100%-owned by BPHB, Mohammad said it registered a cargo throughput of 3.65 million tonnes last year, the highest since Biport was operational in 2004.
Its major customers are leading global palm oil group Wilmar International Ltd and plantation companies Sime Darby Bhd, Sarawak Oil Palms Bhd and Kirana.
According to BPHB, the completion and operation of the third berth at the existing edible oil jetty for smaller edible vessel tankers has helped to increase vessel turnaround time and reduce the waiting time for vessels.
Source: The Star