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Masing Mulls Turning Tanjong Po into Sea Port

Posted on March 13, 2017

Tanjong Po in Bako is expected to be turned into another sea port for Sarawak.

Describing Tanjong Po as interesting, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing said even without dredging it has a natural depth of 10 metres.

And because it is near Kuching, it has a lot of potential not only for industries but also tourism as it is not far from Bako National Park.

Masing, who is also infrastructure development and transportation minister, said currently there are only two sea ports in Sarawak – Bintulu Port and Samalaju Port – while Miri Port, Rajang Port, Tanjong Manis Port and Senari Port are all inland ports.

“We have problem with inland ports because of siltation. So every now and then we have to dredge them to allow big ships to come in.

“So I was informed there is a possible place where we can do a sea port, which is in Tanjong Po,” he told reporters after he made a site visit around the Sarawak River mouth and Tanjong Po waters yesterday.

Masing said the state government must be aware of the need to have a good green sea port, where very little damage would be done to the environment.

“That is why I’m going there to have a look. I cannot agree to things unless I know where it is. Even I didn’t know where Tanjong Po was until I was told it is in Kuching.

“All of us have just seen it. And there, around that area you can see the flat land area, which is outside Bako National Park.

“The flat area is very big, which is about 500 hectares and there is a potential to turn that area into a sea port, where its waters do not require dredging every now and then,” he said.

He anticipated the initial cost to be high, but said in the long run it would be good for the state.

Furthermore, Tanjong Po is quite near to the major shipping lane at Senari Port, which makes it suitable, unlike Bintulu and Miri ports.

“What I’m going to do now is to look at it and try to convince the government to allow us to carry out feasibility study on the possibility of building this sea port in Kuching.

“For now, I do not know the estimated cost to build it but certainly we need at least RM10 million to do feasibility study, whether it is possible or not and the construction will come in later,” he said.

He said work on this proposed project would be done in two phases.

“I can see the potential in Tanjong Po. But its important that I see it for myself. And I’m very keen for the government to look at it and see the potential of having a sea port there,” he said.

Asked on when the feasibility study would begin, he said: “What I will do is I will try to convince the government to do it this year. It is to study first. And we may need RM10 million to do the study first.”

Masing said if the proposed project materialises, it would cater for ocean liners as well.

“That is why we need a very deep port. Ocean liners require depth of at least 10 metres to come in.

“We don’t have the facilities like that in Kuching now. That port in Senari is not there yet. It is not enough to cater for big ocean liners.

“They have to come in only when there is high tide. Even during high tide the water may only be about eight metres deep, which is not enough,” he said.

Although they were given RM360 million to dredge Sungai Sarawak to allow bigger ships to come in to Senari Port, he said it might still be dredged three to five years later.

“But for a sea port, you may dredge it once and do maintenance later on because it already has natural depth,” he said.

Source: Borneo Post Online

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