SHAH ALAM • Construction of a RM12.5 billion (S$4 billion) port to serve the oil and gas industry in Malacca will start in the first quarter of next year, said the port's project owner TAG Marine.
Managing director Noormustafa Kamal Yahya said he will join investors from China in financing the development of the Kuala Linggi International Port (Klip), but he declined to talk about the shareholding structure.
TAG Marine's sister company, Linggi Base, is the master developer of the project.
Second International Trade and Industry Minister Ong Ka Chuan and Malacca Governor Mohd Khalil Yaakob launched the Klip project earlier this month.
Mr Noormustafa told The Star newspaper: "My company has been servicing large ships for the past 10 years handling palm oil, crude oil, liquefied natural petroleum, liquefied natural gas (LNG) among others. We are also the first in the region to handle LNG transfer from ship to ship.
"The RM12.5 billion Klip is the extension of it on a bigger scale."
He said Malacca's Kuala Linggi area "is blessed with natural depth of 30m and is very conducive for servicing large tankers".
Mr Noormustafa, a seasoned mariner, said Klip will ease the traffic at one of the busiest and important waterways in the region.
"This chokepoint that sees about 100,000 large tankers and other types of ships plying through annually is prone to accidents and ships are wary of the close quarter situation in this area.
"The Transport Ministry has gazetted Klip not only as an industrial port and a bunkering hub, but also a port of refuge to aid casualty and vessel in distress," he said.
Mr Noormustafa said Klip would complement the ports in Singapore instead of being a competitor.
"The pie is big enough and it all boils down to branding the area as a shipping hub, where the East meets the West," he said.
A separate project in Malacca called the Melaka Gateway is to have another deep-sea port. The project has grabbed global headlines as it forms part of a wider alliance between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing to raise bilateral trade and boost shipping and logistics along China's planned Maritime Silk Road.
The Malaysian authorities are talking up the Melaka Gateway deal between little-known KAJ Developments and energy giant PowerChina International, which will form a joint venture and spend RM30 billion to reclaim three islands off Malacca's coast.
The entire Gateway development will be completed in 2025.
Malaysia's government hopes to attract the bulk of 100,000 vessels, most of them Chinese, that ply the Malacca Strait annually.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
Correction note: In an earlier version of the story, we said that the Kuala Linggi International Port is part of the Melaka Gateway project. This is incorrect. They are not linked. We are sorry for the error.