Kuantan Port faces uncertain future with rail link deferred

The proposed East Coast Rail Line was touted to bring development to Malaysia's small towns. But the new Pakatan Harapan government's plans to suspend the project has critics upset over economic opportunities lost.
An aerial view of the Kuantan Port, located north of Kuantan city and facing the South China Sea. The port was earmarked as the eastern point of the planned East Coast Rail Link.
An aerial view of the Kuantan Port, located north of Kuantan city and facing the South China Sea. The port was earmarked as the eastern point of the planned East Coast Rail Link.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

PAHANG • The coastal road leading to Kuantan Port is lined with quarries and factories, with the handful of passing trucks giving scant indication that this Malaysian harbour had lofty ambitions of becoming a major gateway for trade between the East and the West.

Two years ago, it was earmarked as the eastern point of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) "land bridge" that would transport shipped goods from Europe and Asia across the Malaysian peninsula, bypassing Singapore.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2018, with the headline 'Kuantan Port faces uncertain future with rail link deferred'. Print Edition | Subscribe