Establishment of Muara Port Company Sdn Bhd (MPC)

An overview of Muara Container Terminal Port, 2017

MPC: Unlocking Muara Port to be international hub
on: February 25, 2017

THE establishment of the Muara Port Company Sdn Bhd (MPC), as the new operator for the Muara Container Terminal (MCT), will facilitate the growth in the logistics and manufacturing industries and unlock the potential of Muara Port to become a world-class international hub, a Ministry of Finance press release issued yesterday stated.

The recent establishment is in line with the objective of the Government of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam to improve the efficiency of the container terminal and the overall logistics value-chain in the country.

The set-up will facilitate the growth in the logistics and manufacturing industries and unlock the potential of Muara Port to become a world-class international hub, the press release added.

The press release stated: “Through its initial focus on upgrading the equipment, MPC plans to improve port operation and enhance the level of port services.

“These include increasing the average gross crane rate from less than 20 moves per hour to 24 moves per hour; increasing the average terminal rate from 20 moves per hour to 40 moves per hour; decreasing the average berthing time from more than 16 and a half hours to 11 hours; and reducing the average time for container transfer by outside trailer from more an hour now to just 30 minutes.

“In addition, the company will also focus on opening and enlarging the available route networks, increase the transit volume, and gradually improving the influence of Muara Port. MPC plans to transform Muara Port into a regional hub by attracting international shipping companies and opening direct routes to Chinese and other Southeast Asian ports.

“Over 90 per cent of global trade is seaborne, and therefore ports are vital as an enabler of trade. Vital supplies such as building materials, food products, and fuel can only be provided through ports. They also support local industries enabling the economy to grow through import and export activities.

“In an increasingly competitive maritime industry, an efficient port operation is determined by its well-developed facilities for handling all types of cargo, a competitive tariff, a comprehensive use of information technology and a dedicated workforce. These will ensure that customers are always provided with good quality and efficient service.

“All these improvements along with the introduction of online permit application process, auto approval and online payment of duties under the Brunei Darussalam National Single Window and more recently the Royal Customs and Excise Department’s 24/7 service will enhance Brunei Darussalam’s Ease of Doing Business standing in the Trading Across Borders Index.”

MPC is a joint venture between the government through Darussalam Assets Sdn Bhd, and Guangxi Beibu Gulf International Port Group Co Ltd (Beibu) from China, a state-owned corporation of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Apart from managing and operating ports, Beibu is also involved in logistics, industry and trade, investment and real estate. Beibu visited Brunei Darussalam as part of the Guangxi Business Delegation in July 2016 and consequently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) in August 2016 to facilitate Beibu’s Investment interest. In September 2016, Darussalam Assets’ and Beibu signed a Key Term Sheet at the China-Asean Expo in Nanning, China.

MPC, which officially took over Muara Container Terminal on February 21 this year, will manage, operate, maintain and develop the Terminal. With Beibu’s vast experience in port operations and maritime logistics, the collaboration will further enhance Muara not only as an international port but a competitive sub-regional port within the BIMP-EAGA region.

The company is also expected to grow the export cargo volumes and cargo throughput at Muara, which in the long-term, will benefit the small and medium enterprises in the country through a reduction of the logistics costs.

MPC will also be expanding its portfolio to include managing and operating the adjacent MCT before the end of this year, bringing the entire operations under MPC.

The expansion is anticipated to spur the country’s economic growth in sectors outside oil and gas, and create more job opportunities for Bruneians.

MPC currently employs 86 people, of which 12 employees are senior management personnel from Beibu and 74 employees are from the previous operator, New Muara Container Terminal Services. Sixty-two of the employees are Bruneians. As the company grows, it will seek to add more local employees in all positions.

MPC’s short to mid-term plan is to upgrade existing container terminal equipment, introduce new port operational and administrative IT system, including the construction of automatic gate and implementation of CCTV system and building a new 50,000-tonne container terminal to increase the throughput capacity of the port.

With Brunei Darussalam intensifying its efforts to diversify the economy and attract foreign direct investments (FDIs), Beibu is also looking at other investment opportunities to create more industrial activities as part of the port’s ecosystem, especially in the development of industrial parks.

Sea-borne trade will continue to dominate global trade flow and the Asean region will continue to grow providing opportunities for investment and trade. The rejuvenation of Muara port is a timely development because the port plays a vital role as a centre for the distribution of goods and products to the market.

Muara port also plays an integral part of the logistics and supply chain. Hence, a fully developed and highly efficient port will not only benefit local businesses but also help to reduce transit time and logistic costs as well as improve its competitiveness. (Ministry of Finance)

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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