KOTA KINABALU (June 29): The declaration of the Lahad Datu Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC Lahad Datu) Port’s full operation as a public port can further boost Sabah’s industrial and economic development.
Deputy chief minister Datuk Dr Joachim Gunsalam said the declaration of POIC Lahad Datu Port, in accordance with Section 3 Sabah Ports Authority Enactment 1981, is expected to attract more investors and have a significant impact on the industrial development of the east coast of the state.
He said the declaration of POIC Lahad Datu Port as a public port would also further strengthen its capability to play an important role as a logistics hub in Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).
“The POIC Lahad Datu Port was built in 2013 but can’t operate as a real port as no declaration has been made in accordance with the law,” he told reporters after the port’s official declaration ceremony here on Wednesday (June 29).
The ceremony was officiated by Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin, who is also the state Works Minister.
With Wednesday’s declaration, POIC Lahad Datu Port is ready to conduct its business operations like other existing ports, he said.
“Many industry players use the port because of its good condition and strategic area.
“We hope that the volume of cargo and container imports into Sabah can be increased, thus giving significance to the state’s economic development, apart from reducing the price of goods,” he said.
Joachim, who is also the state Industrial Development Minister, said POIC Lahad Datu played an important role in the context of Sabah’s development and industry, including in the sectors promoted under the Sabah Industrial Master Plan.
He said these included oil palm downstream activities, logs and cocoa, food processing industry, electrical and electronics industry, petrochemical and gas industries, non-metallic mineral products industry and the machinery and mould industry.
“POIC Lahad Datu will not only bring in direct investment in cluster sites but also stimulate greater economic activity in Lahad Datu and nearby areas including in the services, industry, agriculture and construction sectors,” he said.
He said with the availability of container, dry and liquid bulk terminals, as well as barge landing facilities, POIC Lahad Datu is able to meet the needs of consumers to conduct their business.
“Ports play an important role in the overall logistics chain to enable the development of trade and economy of the state. Of course, the official declaration of this port will directly attract new investors to POIC Lahad Datu,” he said.
POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Fredian Gan said POIC Lahad Datu Industrial Park has attracted about RM3.5 billion in investments so far and the value of investments is expected to increase further with the declaration of the port.
“With the availability of several infrastructure facilities, POIC Sabah is beginning to plan the direction going forward, including making Lahad Datu a hub for logistic, manufacturing, processing, transfer and consolidation of superior goods in the BIMP-EAGA region,” he said.
He said POIC Sabah also supported the plan to build a new international airport in Lahad Datu, which is seen as a catalyst for the initiative to establish a centralised transport hub in POIC Lahad Datu, as well as an international marine hub and the establishment of a free zone area
At the ceremony, Bung Moktar and Joachim also witnessed the signing of a port operation concession agreement between the Sabah Ports Authority with POIC Sabah and POIC Logistics Sdn Bhd.