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Dredging works on Sarawak River vital — Masing
Posted on : 25 Mar 2017  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Dredging works on Sarawak River vital — Masing

 March 25, 2017, Saturday Peter Sibon,

KUCHING: There is an urgency to dredge the sections in Sarawak River, from its rivermouth at Muara Tebas to the Kuching Port in Pending, says Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing. According to him, it is a ‘necessary exercise’ towards full utilisation of the port.

“The dredging of Sarawak River is a necessity; otherwise Kuching Port would be under-utilised. The fund of over RM360 million is in. I hope we could start this year,” Masing – also Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister – told The Borneo Post yesterday.

Last year, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai disclosed that the federal government had allocated RM360 million for the dredging works spanning over a period of four years at Senari Terminal here. He said a six-month study on the project had been on-going and the actual implementation was supposed to commence last October. Such dredging works are expected to cover a distance of 23.4km between Muara Tebas and Pending.

Liow added that the six-month study also comprised hydraulics and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies.

He said the project aimed at allowing larger vessels to dock at Senari Terminal and upon the project completion, the depth of the river would be 9m and during high tides, it could reach 12m. At the moment, the depth is 7.5m at the maximum.

On a related issue, Masing said he went to see the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands during a recent working visit and based on this, he called upon the operators of all five ports in Sarawak – Kuching Port, Tanjung Manis Port, Rajang Port, Samalaju Port and Miri Port – to cooperate and share information with one another; instead of trying to outdo each other.

“The Port of Rotterdam is one of the biggest ports in the world, with a capacity of handling 460 million tonnes of cargoes annually. It is being managed by various stakeholders who are competing with one another but when it comes to certain jobs, they would cooperate.

“So this is what we want from all the five ports in Sarawak; that they should work closely together because after all, they are all GLCs (government-linked companies) under the same boss – the Sarawak government,” he stressed.

Masing also shared his experience while visiting the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) headquarters in London, the UK.

“Sarawak needs to learn from IMO, so that its (Sarawak’s) shipping industry would be in sync with the global players.”