By Chris Maskilone
KOTA KINABALU: Liner, MV/Baltic Summer made its maiden call to the KK Port here late Monday marking the start of a dedicated transhipment service catering to the BIMP-Eaga market.
It was initiated by BIMP-Eaga Business Council (BEBC) Malaysia through a partnership deal with Reefer Filipinas in February this year to sail through routes in the BIMP-Eaga region.
The deal was inked between BEBC Malaysia represented by chairman Datuk Roselan Johar Mohamed and Reefer Filipinas President & Chief Executive Officer Felix Ishizuka.
The trade route developed by Reefer Filipinas included calls at the port of Davao (Philippines), Bitung (Sulawesi, Indonesia), Sepanggar and Labuan (Malaysia) as well as Muara (Brunei).
Reefer Filipinas developed the route that could be completed witihin two weeks time.
Last Monday, MV/Baltic Summer run by Reefer Filipinas, a Davao-based shipping company arrived at the Labuan Liberty Wharf carrying a break-bulk cargo of rice from Ho Chin Minh.
At about 9pm the same day, the vessel arrived here and berthed at the wharf to pick up piling and concrete poles.
Fabricated by a local company based in Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP) the material were being sent to Davao for trial usage.
Overseeing the event at the KK Port was BEBC Sabah chairman Carl Moosom who descibed it as a historic moment for BEBC since its 25 years of inception.
“After 25 years we have finally took off in cross-border business that capitalises the market within the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines (BIMP) East Asean Growth Area,” he said.
According to him, the initiative was not to compete with other ports but it complemented the State and Malaysia governments’ effort to boost trade volumes.
“The State government has been talking about increasing the volume of twenty-footer equivalent unit (teu) containers. So this is one of BEBC’s ways to assist,” he said.
Moosom said the BIMP-Eaga shipping route has been geared towards promoting Sepanggar Bay Container Port as a transhipment hub.
“This has been a long time agenda and that the previous government has already approved development plans to make Sepanggar Bay Container Port as a transhipment port,” he said.
According to Moosom, for starter, the trade route would include just Sepanggar and Labuan but later it may include Sandakan, Tawau and Lahad Datu.
Towards this end, he said BEBC Sabah was inviting businesses in Sabah to take advantage of the service to send their products to the BIMP-Eaga market.
Together with Moosom were Sabah Port KK Operations Executive, Adrian Bang and Mohamed Shariff as well as transhipment agents.
Reefer Express Line port operation officer Oswald Ian B Dira and Reefer Filipinas vessel operation officer Alexander Viladores JR were also on hand.
Reefer Filipinas also operate from ports in Hong Kong and Manila specialising in reefer containers for several years already and this BIMP-Eaga trade route is their new business model.
Moosom suggested it may well be the first mother ship of the sub region of Asean.-SabahNewsToday