KUCHING: The Sarawak government has approved the proposed Aids to Navigation (AtoN) project worth RM39,360,000 for Batang Rajang at Tanjung Manis Port to ensure the security of the state’s maritime navigation.
Infrastructure and Port Development (MIPD) Assistant Minister Datuk Julaihi Narawi said the project, which included the design, building, supply and installation of AtoN, was expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2022.
“AtoN is an important tool as a ship’s guide in meeting with the requirements of the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA).
“Looking at its importance, it is timely to upgrade, digitise and increase the number of buoys and beacons and install leading lights towards and within Tanjung Manis Port to uphold the channel navigation safety as per IALA’s latest specification requirements,” he told a press conference during his working visit to the port today.
Julaihi added that the AtoN project would improve the security of the shipping industry, especially cargo vessels and enforcement, creating a safer voyage environment and more systematic navigation controls in improving turnaround time and maintaining zero maritime accident.
“In addition, it will facilitate the entries and exits of ships into and from the port area at night, thereby increasing the confidence level of the local and international shipping communities to stop or transit at Tanjung Manis Port,” he said.
Tanjung Manis Port is poised to be the main trade gateway for the central region in Sarawak. It is governed and regulated by the Tanjung Manis Port Authority (TMPA) and operated by Tanjung Manis Integrated Port Sdn Bhd (TMP), a wholly owned subsidiary of Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC).
Tanjung Manis Port is capable of handling up to 5.87 million tonnes of cargo including a maximum capacity of 230,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers yearly.
As of Oct this year, Tanjung Manis Port handled 1.48 million tonnes of cargoes compared to 1.97 million tonnes for the same corresponding period last year.
The port handled 25,050 TEUs of containers for the period as of Oct this year compared to 30,399 TEUs of containers for the same corresponding period last year.
“Although the volume of annual cargo handling at Tanjung Manis Port has decreased, the situation is believed to be temporary. The decrease is mainly due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Julaihi.
Also present were TMPA chairman Shafiee Ahmad, TMPA board member Abdul Yaakub Arbi, TMPA general manager Latiff Coupon, TMP executive director Sadiah Tu and MIPD permanent secretary Datuk Safri Zaiduddin.