KUCHING: The discussion on taking over Bintulu Port Authority (BPA) from the federal government is still on going, says Bintulu Port Holdings Berhad (BPHB) chairman Datuk Abdul Mutalib Alias.
He said BPHB is always kept abreast on the process and discussion, and supports the decision of both the state and federal governments on the matter.
“We wish we could put a date to that but at the moment, the discussion is still ongoing. We don’t have a specific timeline,” he told a press conference after the 27th BPHB annual general meeting here.
“As far as operations are concerned, business is as usual.”
On Jan 30, Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg announced that the state government is intent on taking control of Bintulu Port from the federal government as part of the state’s overall port development strategy, and would discuss with Putrajaya to discontinue Bintulu Port as a federal facility.
Subsequently, on Feb 3, Deputy Premier and Minister of Infrastructure and Port Development Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said his ministry has been tasked to lead discussions with the Ministry of Transport in Putrajaya on Sarawak’s intention to take back Bintulu Port.
Uggah said taking over Bintulu Port would be ‘no small task’ for the Sarawak government.
Earlier, Abdul Mutalib said BPHB group’s total cargo annual throughput volume in 2022 increased by 7.6 per cent to 50.73 million tonnes compared to 47.16 million tonnes in 2021.
The performance improvement was spearheaded by a rise in Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) throughput, which grew 8.5 per cent from 22.95 million tonnes in 2021 to 24.89 million tonnes in 2022.
The group also experienced volume expansion in non-LNG cargo, which increased by 6.7 per cent to 25.83 million tonnes compared to 24.21 million tonnes in 2021.
“Buoyed by international economies on the path to recovery, the group’s total vessel calls recorded in 2022 were 7,505 calls, representing an increase of 11.4 per cent compared to 6,735 calls in 2021. LNG vessels increased by 3.1 per cent to 469 calls, while non-LNG vessels contributed to the bulk of the year’s upsurge, rising by 12.0 per cent to 7,036 calls,” he said, adding other liquid bulk also rose by 2.7 per cent.
Dry bulk cargo at Bintulu Port increased by 3.9 per cent in 2022, while dry bulk at Samalaju Industrial Port saw a sharp increase of 21.7 per cent.
Breakbulk also increased at both ports during the year, rising by 42.6 per cent at Bintulu Port and by 27.6 per cent at Samalaju Port.
“Overall, the group recorded operating revenue of RM791.26 million, an 8.6 per cent increase compared to 2021. Revenue from LNG, which accounted for 49 per cent of the total operating revenue, remained the main revenue contributor. The increase in cargo volume handled by all three operating subsidiaries also contributed to this outstanding operating revenue.
“On the other hand, the group’s profit after tax declined to RM127.72 million from the RM363.19 million recorded in the previous year. This was mainly due to the one-off transaction on the recognition of deferred tax assets arising from the unutilised investment tax allowance at one of its subsidiary companies, Samalaju Industrial Port Sdn Bhd in 2021,” said Abdul Mutalib.
He said the AGM saw seven ordinary resolutions tabled for shareholders’ approval and all seven resolutions were carried.
Among those present at the press conference were BPHB group chief executive officer Ruslan Abdul Ghani, as well as board members Dato Sri JC Fong and Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani.
The Borneo Post