BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The Muara Port Company has unveiled ambitious plans to double the size and capacity of Brunei’s main container terminal by 2023.

During a doa selamat ceremony on Monday, Chief Operating Officer Mohd Fazilah Hj Mohd Yassin said the company is finalising a masterplan together with a team of international experts to provide a comprehensive roadmap for the port expansion.

Central to the masterplan is expansion of the main container terminal. Quay length would be expanded from 275 metres to 525 metres so that the terminal can accommodate two vessels, increasing capacity from 280,000 TEUs per annum to 500,000 TEUs.

MPC’s COO Mohd Fazilah Hj Mohd Yassin. Photo: Courtesy of Muara Port Company

Mohd Fazilah said a feasibility study will begin in Q4 of 2021, which will cover hydrology measurements, navigation simulations, a safety assessment and environmental impact assessment.

Construction of the new terminal is slated to begin in Q2 of 2022 with a projected completion date in Q3 of 2023.

Muara Port Company is a joint venture between government-owned Darussalam Assets and China’s Guangxi Beibu Gulf Port Group. The firm took over operations of Muara Container Terminal when it was privatised in 2017.

Cargo traffic projected to recover in 2021

Mohd Fazilah said annual throughput has increased at a rate of seven percent per annum, except for the last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“MPC, however, expects for the throughput to grow again this year as the world is currently recovering,” the COO added.

Graphic: Muara Port Company

He said cargo traffic volume through Muara Port increased by 11 percent year-on-year, from 51,898 TEUs in the first half of 2020 to 57,759 TEUs during the first half of 2021.

Total cargo throughput in 2020 was 106,174 TEUs. The annual average over the past four years was 110,000 TEUs.  

Second Minister of Finance and Economy, YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah, who was also present at the event, said the new terminal would play a crucial role in creating business opportunities in Brunei’s logistics and manufacturing sector as the country tries to diversify away from oil and gas.