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Another Sarawak firm invest in the POIC
Published on: Friday, March 17, 2023
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Another Sarawak firm invest in the POIC
Kiing (right) and Fredian exchanging the Sales and Purchase documents after the signing ceremony. Bearing witness is Yong (centre) and Thomas (second left).
Kota Kinabalu: A company with headquarters in Sarawak has become the third from the neighbouring state to invest in the state-owned POIC Lahad Datu industrial park.

In a Sale and Purchase agreement signed here, Thursday, BNE Trading Sdn Bhd of Kuching bought 6.22 acres at POIC Lahad Datu for trading in biomass, particularly palm kernel shells which is one of the residue materials from the oil palm industry.

The agreement was signed between POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd Chief Executive Officer Datuk Fredian Gan and the company’s Head of Finance Wendy Kung, while BNE Trading Sdn Bhd Managing Director Kiing Teck Wee signed with his Director/Secretary Wong Bek Lung. The signing was witnessed by POIC Sabah Group Chairman Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee, Industrial Development and Entrepreneurship Permanent Secretary Datuk Thomas Logijin and representatives from Invest Sabah Berhad. In December last year, Starcity Ventures Sdn Bhd bought 3.5 acres at the same industrial park for a cold storage fruit and vegetable distribution business. Starcity has an operation in Kota Kinabalu whilst the bulk of its business is spread all over Sarawak. Habour-Link Logistics Sdn Bhd, a player in logistics, was the first Sarawak-based company at POIC Lahad Datu. It came in 2016.

The recent investments are expected to significantly increase cargo throughput at the port at POIC Lahad Datu which consists of four terminals respectively dedicated for dry bulk, liquid and container cargo.

It also has a barge landing area for loose bulk cargo, such as palm kernel shells (PKS).

PKS, as the name implies, is the hard shell encasing the white kernel that resembles coconut flesh.

It is much sought-after because of its high calorific value, making it an ideal feedstock for energy production. Japan is a major PKS market since the country make renewable energy mandatory a number of years ago.

BNE has its origin in Kuching in 2014 and has since been exporting PKS to Taiwan, Thailand and Japan, with the latter being currently the main destination. It envisages an export of about 100,000 metric tonnes per year.

Welcoming BNE Trading’s investment, Fredian said it testifies to Lahad Datu being the centre to Sabah’s oil palm industry, as well as the facilities and connectivity of POIC’s port.

He said that while oil palm and biomass downstream industries remain on POIC Sabah’s agenda, the company has broadened its horizon to becoming the logistics hub for the BIMP-EAGA region by leveraging on its strategic geographic location and outstanding port infrastructure.

He also said BNE Trading investment underlines the importance of further developing the potentials in the palm biomass downstream industries. A dedicated biomass policy for Sabah would further facilitate the development of the industry.

On its vision for the investment at POIC Lahad Datu, Kiing said BNE aims to develop the base into its regional base to grow the biomass trading industry. Although he made no reference to the region’s oil palm industry, it is widely known that Sabah and Sarawak combine for half of Malaysia’s total oil palm plantings of about six million hectares. This, if taken with the massive oil palm hectares in neighbouring Kalimantan provinces of Indonesia, accounts for a good portion of global palm oil production of which more than 80 per cent come from Malaysia and Indonesia. “The oil palm industry has grown drastically and we see us making this (Lahad Datu base) as the regional biomass hub,” said Kiing. 

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