Early 2016, Malaysian Government announced the approval for the expansion of Sapangar Bay Container Port. A project under the Eleventh Malaysia plan, SBCP will be developed into a transhipment hub. The transhipment hub strategy will boost the State’s connectivity to the international markets generating higher volume of cargo to attract more shipping lines to call at SBCP. This will be the long term catalyst to the industrial activities in the State. The hub and spoke system will see SBCP as a load centre supported by other ports such as Sandakan, Lahad Datu and Tawau Ports.
The Federal Government had approved the expansion of SBCP as a project under the Sabah Development Corridor initiative. Sabah Ports Sdn Bhd, a 100%-owned subsidiary of Suria Capital Holdings Berhad, is the operator. An allocation of RM800 million has been approved under the Eleventh Malaysia Plan, whereby funding will be staggered over a two year period (2016-2017).
For the initial phase, the project will involve the expansion of its berth length from the current 500 meters to 1.2 km and the stacking area from 15 hectares to 60 hectares. With the additional operation area, the handling capacity is expected to increase to as much as 1.25 million TEUs (twenty equivalent unit size of containers) from the current 500,000 TEUs.
Currently, SBCP handled an average of about 300,000 TEUs a year, about 70 per cent of the total container throughput of Sabah. The growth has been on the uptrend at about 5 to 6 percent annually since the privatization exercise.
Construction work for the first stage of the development will commence in early 2017 with expected completion by 2019. The Port Master Plan being prepared shall serve as a Blue Print to further develop the seaport and logistics industry in the State for the next 30 years. This will ensure sustainability of the port to continually support the economic development of the State.