BEDB to select deep water port partner mid-year

National 1 minute, 45 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

BY THE middle of this year, the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) is expected to select the private sector partner for the Pulau Muara Besar transshipment port project, said the board's acting chairman, Dato Paduka Timothy Ong.

"We are expected to arrive at a confirmed decision of which port operators who will co-invest and develop the port with us in June or July this year," he told The Brunei Times yesterday.

Tenders have been given out to eight or nine multinational companies who have expressed interest in working with the board to develop the sultanate's transshipment port, which is envisioned to rival established ports in the region.

"We have created a framework and certain criteria because we will be evaluating them in both financial terms as well as their value adding to Brunei," he said.

"We want them to help us operate and bring in businesses into Brunei," he added.

The project is Brunei's bid to capture a significant share of the deep water port services market both on the Borneo island and beyond.

The roles of the chosen private sector partner in the development of the port include the operation of facilities such as craning and warehousing equipment.

While studying the potential partners for the project, the board has held dialogues with various agencies that are interested in setting up their activities at the port.

"We are in the first phase where we want to get it up and going. We simultaneously have been talking to different parties, one is the Ministry of Industry, Primary and Resources," he said.

The board, he said, is confident amid Malaysia and Singapore's established trans shipment hubs, stressing that there is enough activity for Brunei "to be much larger than what we are" by focusing on the sub-region and Borneo.

"There is no reason why we cannot be the leading port on the island of Borneo, we want to do it in phases and see the demand, we hope to do many many phases," he said.

The Brunei Times