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New era for Sabah shipping, ports
Published on: Monday, March 04, 2024
By: Crystal E Hermenegildus
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New era for Sabah shipping, ports
Phoong said the state may adopt a new policy aimed at enhancing the competitiveness and capability of its ports.
Kota Kinabalu: State Industrial Development and Entrepreneurship Minister  Datuk Phoong Jin Zhe said the repeal of the National Load Centre policy will create new opportunities for Sabah ports and shipping.

“The repeal of this policy is a positive start, as it will boost investor confidence to invest here since shipping companies can directly come here,” Phoong said at the Federation of Sabah Industries (FSI) Members’ Networking Event in conjunction with Chinese New Year at Wisma FSM, KKIP.

He said geopolitics is becoming increasingly complex and dynamic, and in shipping activities, this complexity is opening up new opportunities for the state.

This is based on Transport Minister Anthony Loke’s announcement that the Cabinet decided that Port Klang is no more the National Load Centre and any port can be used as a loading port, or called by any shipping company directly.

With the policy repealed, international shipping liners or companies can continue to dock at any port in Malaysia, whether in Peninsular Malaysia or Sabah and Sarawak.

“I applaud the announcement, and I am sure this is a continuing commitment from him and the Federal Government to ensure Sabah enjoys freedom in shipping.

Phoong said the state may adopt a new policy aimed at enhancing the competitiveness and capability of its ports.

“For instance, in the upcoming project by the Thai Government to establish a port and a land bridge aimed at bypassing the straits of Malacca, Sabah stands to benefit.

“But we need to prepare more policies on how to allow more shipping activities, whether these opportunities bring positive or negative outcomes, it necessitates thorough analysis,” Phoong said.

As international shipping liners can now dock at Sabah Ports, Phoong encourages local industries to venture into manufacturing centres to have local products exported.

He explained that foreign shipping companies require goods to export when docking, and without such goods, it becomes costly for them to render the use of Sabah’s ports economically unfeasible.

Phoong said that two years ago, Sabah’s manufacturing sector contributed only 7.1% to the GDP.

However, with the recent completion of projects like SK Nexilis and the successful production by Kibing, export activities are improving.

“We need to have trade activities that are increasingly active, and it requires industrialisation,” he said.

However, Phoong acknowledged that the opening of Sabah ports may lead to issues like congestion.

“This is part of the industrial development process, and I believe there is still much to accomplish.

“I remain committed to developing our industries so that we can fully capitalise on the opportunities presented by these announcements,” Phoong said.

Also present at the event are FSI President Richard Lim and President and Advisor of FSI Datuk Wong Khen Thau.

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