KUCHING, Jan 11 (Bernama) — The Tanjung Manis Integrated Port is to become the primary import and export gateway for Sarawak central region when it begins full operations by next year.
The port, a subsidiary of Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) and appointed by Rajang Port Authority as its port operator in Tanjung Manis new township, had shown encouraging performance since commencing operations in July last year.
As at October 2009, it had received 11 vessels and handled 2,383 TEUs (twenty equivalent units) containers, said STIDC general manager and Tanjung Manis Integrated Port chairman Datuk Len Talif Salleh in the latest issue of Perkasa, the bi-monthly newsletter published by the corporation.
Currently, the port accesssible to 20,000 GRT (gross register tonnage) vessels, has the capacity to handle up to 200,000 tonnes of general cargo and 25,000 TEUs containers a year.
He said the existing 203-metre wharf would be extended by 200 metres to enable the port to handle an anual capacity of 200,000 TEUs of containers and six million tonnes of general cargo by next year.
When fully operational, the port is expected to be equipped with state-of-the-art cargo-handling facilities such as quay cranes, mobile harbour cranes, rubber-type gantry cranes and reach stackers, said Len.
He said the port was envisaged to play a pivotal role in the shipping industry with the completion of the Sibu-Tanjung Manis road by this year and support the various industries in the hinterland, particularly the Tanjung Manis Halal Hub and other projects planned under the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).
“With better facilities and a team of dedicated and experienced workforce, Tanjung Manis port promises efficient services apart from reducing vessel turnaround time due to its closeness to the sea,” he said.
Len said the port’s strategic location and natural deep water complemented its role as the central region’s transshipment hub.
Meanwhile, the 77,000-hectare Tanjung Manis Halal Hub is expected to attract at least RM9 billion worth of investments for upstream and downstream halal food processing activities, which will create about 10,000 jobs, besides other economic spin-offs.