Terminal services operator keen to extend contract
FILIPINO company International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI) is keen to extend its contract operating Muara Container Terminal once the agreement expires next year, said the general manager of ICTSI’s Brunei subsidiary.
Reimond B Silvestre, head of New Muara Container Terminal Services, said ICTSI is eager to maintain its presence in Brunei once the ports are fully privatised.
“Darussalam Assets will be tapped as the private port operator but their area of expertise is not in port operations. We have international recognition and capabilities dating back 28 years,” he said. “We would be keen for Darussalam Assets to tap us, whether it is outsourcing operations to us, or doing a joint venture.”
The Ministry of Communications has outsourced port operations to ICTSI – one of the largest terminal operators in the world – since 2009, but as it privatises the ports, the government’s role will shift from being a ports operator to a ports regulator.
The Marine Department and Ports Department will merge to create a regulatory body called the Maritime and Port Authority, handing over port operations to Darussalam Assets, an investment holding company for government-linked companies.
Silvestre said the planned expansion of the container terminal has the potential to boost revenue and employment in the local shipping industry.
“The shipping industry is pretty big for a country this size; we have almost 30 operators from shipping agents, forwarding companies. The port community alone is roughly about 2,000 employees.”
“The port is a gateway and an economic indicator. As more shipments come to the ports, it dictates how slow or how fast the economy grows.”
Plans for the expansion of Muara Container Terminal are currently in the works, with the government hoping it will be a catalyst for the inflow of foreign investment into Brunei.
“The PENGGERAK Unit at the Prime Minister’s Office is leading the way to increase FDI and transshipment cargo.
“What ICTSI can do is complement that in terms of our expertise in port management and operations,” Silvestre said.
The Brunei Times