Bintulu Port Holdings Berhad (BPHB) Group chief executive
officer Datuk Mohammad Medan Abdullah, despite his busy schedule, found time to
talk to New Sarawak Tribune in an exclusive interview recently.
taking charge of BPHB Group, Mohammad Medan served as the managing director and
president (Asia Pacific) of Gazprom Marketing and Trading Pte Ltd (Singapore),
an affiliate of Gazprom Group, the largest gas company in the world.
62-year-old Kelabit enjoys writing poems on nature and play the guitar, sape,
ukulele and serudi — a bamboo wind instrument.
Medan has more than three decades of experience in the oil and gas industry. He
plans to turn Bintulu Port into a world class port operator.
he talks about Bintulu Port Holdings Berhad’s operations as the country’s
export terminal for liquefied natural gas and its role in the Sarawak Corridor
of Renewable Energy (SCORE).
others, he also talks about Bintulu Port’s efforts in transforming into a green
and smart port.
also highlights BPHB’s major initiatives achieved within the last year.
is the first instalment of a two-part series. The second instalment will be
New Sarawak Tribune: How has
the Covid-19 pandemic impacted Bintulu Port’s operations?
Datuk Mohammad Medan Abdullah: Bintulu
Port is one of the service sectors listed under the essential services during
the movement control order. Even though the pandemic has upended the landscape
for maritime transport and disrupted logistics supply-chain, Bintulu Port’s
operations have remained open and continue to provide services to our port
users and customers.
What measures have Bintulu Port
Holdings Berhad (BPHB) taken to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic?
sudden surge of cases in China and around Asia raised an immediate and deep
concern for us. We started to closely monitor the situation as early as
February. When lockdowns were imposed in March, BPHB responded by releasing a
Business Response Plan or BRP in April. The BRP outlines our strategy in
keeping our business going as per usual; and as mean to ensure that the port
will continuously operate and remain open to our port users all throughout the
pandemic. The response plan allowed us to identify all the potential disruption
at the early onset and enabled us to mitigate and manage the risks involved,
which even at the present time, continues to be relevant.
Among some of the strategies we employed were to help and enable
our customers to deliver value by providing targeted incentives to them. At the
same time, internally, we embarked on optimising our costs as well as
practising prudent cash preservation by reviewing and prioritising our capex
spending plans and expenditure. We also put in place a communication plan to
help us be constantly in touch with all our stakeholders.
also prioritised keeping our employees safe, notably during the early stage of
pandemic, when we ordered our people to work from home at the beginning of
March 2020, before the movement control order was put into effect. This was
done despite our port services being listed as an essential service. We were
also among the first organisations in Bintulu responsible for distributing
personal protective equipment widely, not just to our employees but also to our
local communities as well as health care workers, frontliners and hospitals.
It was reported at the end of
2019 that the Sarawak government was considering taking over Bintulu Port from
the federal government. Are there any updates?
BPHB is a holding company that is listed on Bursa Malaysia.
Bintulu Port Sdn Bhd (BPSB) is one of the wholly owned subsidiaries that is
engaged in providing port services which include marine services, cargo
handling and storage, stevedoring, supply base services and bunkering services.
Currently, the Sarawak government is our largest single shareholder holding
more than 39 percent share in BPHB, which is represented by State Financial
Secretary Sarawak and Equisar Assets Sdn Bhd.
Bintulu Port aims to be a significant
LNG ISO tank export hub in the Asean region. Could you elaborate on the
progress towards achieving this goal, including BPSB just recently marking the
full commencement of its LNG ISO tank handling operations?
the port, the dynamic mix of our 37 years experiences in handling LNG,
strategic location adjacent to the second biggest LNG terminal in the world and
the presence of our container terminal with reliable services provide Bintulu
Port the first mover advantage in becoming an enabler to shift the LNG
vision of making Bintulu the LNG ISO tank hub is a shared vision of Bintulu
Port together with Petronas and Tiger Clean Energy (TCEL) since 2017 in
changing the LNG landscape through innovation and exporting LNG in ISO tanks.
In achieving the vision, each of the stakeholders has specific
roles to play. Bintulu Port plays the crucial role of providing reliable and
safe port services and facilities to receive LNG ISO tank vessels and to handle
the LNG ISO tanks. Bintulu Port also plays the role of providing land for the
setting up of an LNG ISO tank filling facility.
years of preparation, Bintulu Port is now ready with its LNG ISO tank-dedicated
facilities and equipment to handle LNG ISO tank operations at the port. Bintulu
Port completed its first LNG ISO Tank operations with the maiden call of TCEL
from a 169-metre length overall vessel, Fan Zhou 6 to Bintulu International
Container Terminal on the January 20 this year. Two hundred units of ISO tanks
were successfully discharged and unloaded within six hours of operations. The
ISO tanks will be filled with LNG at the filling facility located within our
port premises. Once filling has been completed, the ISO tanks containing LNG
will be transported to BICT for export.
are confident that the diligent efforts that are continuously made by all
parties will lead to the establishment of Bintulu as the first LNG ISO tank hub
in the Asean region.
How was the operational and
financial performance of BPHB last year (2020), as compared to 2019?
Bintulu Port Holdings Berhad Group’s cargo throughput
performance beats expectation for 2020 performance. A significant recovery has
been observed in Quarter 3 and Quarter 4 2020 due to more countries reopening
their economies after going into lockdown in the first half of the year to halt
and fight the spread of Covid-19.
Group’s cargo performance for Quarter 4 shown the highest volume compared to
the rest of the quarter in 2020.
Group forecasted a 7 percent decline in cargo throughput compared to 2019.
However, our actual performance only registered a minimum 5 percent reduction.
In 2020 we handled a total of 47.608 million freight weight tons.
What are some of the latest
major initiatives (MOUs, agreements etc) achieved by BPHB within the last year?
the start of the previous year, we saw our team in Brunei commence their
operations in January, signalling the group’s first business foray and
penetration into an international market. We plan to continue growing our
service offerings and expertise within the Brunei market all throughout this
also rolled out new group wide internal policies in order to comply with
Section 17a of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 which came
into effect on June 1. In tandem with that, we also wrapped up phase 1 and 2 of
our governance risk and control transformation programme and are now in the
process of undertaking further implementations in order to holistically
strengthen our policies and procedures that govern the operation of our
businesses as whole this year.
April we saw the first ship-to-ship commercial bunkering operations being
undertaken by Tumpuan Megah Development Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Straits Inter
Logistics and carried out on the vessel named “MT Sturgeon” within BPSB’s Port
group also locked in and signed a sub-lease agreement with Tiger Gas for the
ISO tank filling terminal and facilities in May of 2020. This was followed up
with us having achieved operational readiness for LNG ISO tanks by September,
which saw the completion of the interim facilities as well as the SOP’s related
to the operations. Earlier this year, we received the first major shipment of
LNG ISO tanks in January, being the first port in Asia to do so on a
June, our Bintulu International Container Terminal or BICT received the maiden
voyage for SITC’s new China-Malaysia-Vietnam service, through the berthing of
MV Bahamian Express. This new service route by SITC strengthens the
connectivity between Bintulu and other major ports within the Intra Asia Trade
Routes, namely with the addition of Ho Chi Minh and Qui Nhon.
also held our annual general meeting in July in a fully online session, which
was a first for us. We also saw the signing of an MOU between BPHB, Regal Lands
Sdn Bhd, Agensi Inovasi Malaysia or AIM and the Port of Rotterdam in July,
which was conducted via a digital signing ceremony.
also secured a contract extension with PTTEP in October as well as another
long-term contract with an oil and gas major, Mubadala Petroleum in November
for the support base contract for a three-year period.
month of November also served as an important milestone in our history, where
we saw the berthing of the largest LNG vessel yet to be received by Bintulu
Port as well as surpassing the 1 billion tons of cargo handled mark,
accumulated since 1993. This was a high-water mark in our group’s long
all throughout the year, we saw a handling of a total of seven LNG vessels for
the gassing up and cooling down operations, which is a growing business area.
also launched a maritime security transformation programme in September which
aims to implement awareness and training programmes geared towards heightened
accountability in the security sector within the port premises and water