Malaysia’s Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak launched on September 7 the Kuantan Port Expansion (KPE) project, expected to position the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) as a key investment and trade destination, according to the national news agency Bernama.
The port upgrade is expected to enable the ECER to significantly attract investments and spur job growth by 2020.
“With the expansion, Kuantan Port’s total throughput is expected to double to 52 million tonnes of cargo from the current 26 million tonnes,” Prime Minister Najib said at the launching ceremony held at Kuantan Port.
The KPE is a public-private partnership involving the construction of a 4.7-kilometer breakwater, which will become one of the longest in the world.
Construction of the project began in April this year and is scheduled for completion in 2015.
The Prime Minister said the expanded port would serve as world-class multipurpose port for regional trade in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations bloc and the rest of the Asia-Pacific, Bernama reported.
Investment in the KPE will total MYR4 billion (US$1.22 billion), of which over RM1 billion will be provided by the Malaysian government for the building of the breakwater, and the balance by private entities IJM Corp. and Guangxi Beibu International Port Group (GBIPG) to cover dredging, reclamation work equipment, machinery, and internal infrastructure.
“Kuantan Port offers the shortest, quickest, and most direct route between Malaysia and the ports in the Far East,” the Prime Minister said. “To the shipping community, this marks significant savings in cost, as well reduction in shipping time.”
The launch event also witnessed the signing of share-sale agreement between China’s GBIPG and Road Builder (M) Holdings, a subsidiary of IJM Corp. The GBIPG is acquiring a 40 percent stake in Kuantan Port Consortium.
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