Shaping Asia Media: Could you please give us an overview of T.A.G Marine’s ambitious plan and what’s have been the response of foreign companies in exploring be part of Kuala Linggi International Port?
Datuk Wira Noormustafa Kamal Yahya: T.A.G. Marine Sdn Bhd (TMSB) was incorporated in Malaysia in March 2000. Thus, It was my idea to tap the growing business opportunities in the shipping and maritime industry in Malaysia.
I started sailing in 1979 as a merchant marine and I have been sailing many ports in the world. In international big ports I got the experience and expertise. Now that I am on the other side of the table, as the port operator, I understand the needs and demands of the marines. It is the port operator offering a range of seaport services, associated with ship-to-ship transfer (STS).
We are the pioneer in the handling of LNG and LPG STS offshore transfer in this region and proud with the achievement of attracting the largest ULCC and a stream of VLCCs. We have gained the trust and confidence of more than 50 international companies; amongst them are the global oil traders and oil majors. T.A.G Marine is evaluating a few proposals from Chinese, Dutch and American companies.
Moreover, there are Chinese investors who have expressed their interests so we are talking with the parties now. T.A.G. Marine is a small player, so we have to collaborate with big investors. So far, T.A.G Marine has formed a partnership with China Railway Port & Engineering Group Co. Ltd. to develop KLIP. However, The 10-year project’s main developer will be Linggi Base Sdn Bhd.
We have been developing this port already for 10 years to explore the demand in the maritime services. The demand is here, from the Western companies that want to do business with emerging markets in ASEAN. International companies have been using our services here, and so far we have attracted 49 international companies.
So, basically, your goal is to position Kuala Linggi Port into a world-class global green industrial hub for the oil and gas infrastructure, port, and maritime services not just in Malaysia but globally?
Datuk Wira Noormustafa Kamal Yahya: In the past decade, we have transformed Kuala Linggi Port from a very minor port utilized by fishing vessels and calls from barter trading crafts into one that is attracting a ULCC, VLCCs, LNGCs, LPG Carriers, and a host of Aframax and Panamax ships.
Now T.A.G Marine’s plans are to transform and upgrade the facility into the Kuala Linggi International Port (KLIP), the world’s preferred shipping hub in the Straits of Malacca. The launching of the KLIP was on 1st November 2016.
The plan of T.A.G. Marine is to interface the existing off-shore services with on-shore services and transform the Kuala Linggi Port into a world-class global green industrial hub for the oil and gas infrastructure, port and maritime services. Furthermore, the new KLIP will be a full pledged one -stop centre including ship repair yard, tank farm, marine fabrication yard, general cargo wharf and other marine supporting services.
Datuk Wira Noormustafa Kamal Yahya: The company’s operations include maritime services, ship-to-ship operations, pilotage and support craft services, as well as ship husbandry.
To what extent do you considert that KLIP’s location in the Straits of Melaka will play an important role to assist the high demand in the Port industry?
Datuk Wira Noormustafa Kamal Yahya: The Straits of Malacca, historically had been one of the busiest maritime trading port since the 14th century due to its strategic location. It was a main trade port for the Malay, Chinese, and had been colonized by the Dutch and Portugese. Nowadays Malacca is mainly known for UNESCO heritage listed tourist attractions, but TAG marine (PORT OPERATOR) and Linggi Base (PORT DEVELOPER) plan to revive Malacca as the marine trading hub by developing the Kuala Linggi International Port.
KLIP is located in the middle of Malacca Straits before entering Singapore Straits which is known as the busiest sea lanes for oil and gas business. Kuala Linggi Port is connecting the Pacific Ocean with the Indian Ocean. The Straits of Malacca has been hailed as one of the world’s most important shipping lanes. The recent surge of the strait as the region’s main transit route, as it is the shortest sea pathway between Africa and Persian Gulf suppliers and Asia’s fast-growing economies, makes it essentially the foremost link to supply vital commodities to Asian markets
In which way you may consider that KLIP is addresing IMO’s concern “International Maritime Organization” about the dangers of a potential collision and the catastrophic environmental impact this would have in one of the narrowest chokepoints in the world?
Datuk Wira Noormustafa Kamal Yahya: For many years now, traffic has been increasing through the Strait of Malacca, the shortest waterway connecting the nations of ASEAN to the rest of the world. Thus, The narrowest point in the strait is only 1.7 miles wide, which creates a natural bottleneck for shipping. For this reason, we consider that we can complement the existing Port facilities in the region and play an important role to contribute to the region’s infrastructure and the global shipping community by relieving pressure on the Strait of Melaka .
Datuk Wira Noormustafa Kamal Yahya: We made history by doing the first LNG transfer with the biggest ship, ULCC, here in the region. It was possible because we have sheltered waters and the water is about 30metres deep.
This port will provide Malaysia with greater connectivity and improve trade. The total project will cost about 12.5billion MYR and will be completed in 10 years.
The project will be built on reclaimed land and will provide services for shipping, oil and gas facilities.
Now we have launched the second phase, with the support of the State Government and the Ministry of Trade and Industry so we can all work together to bring it forward. We are also working with Dutch consultants to manage the water and reclamation of the land.
Datuk Wira Noormustafa Kamal Yahya: Our vision is based on the well-being for the people, because trade creates peace in the region and we bring economic value for the community through job creation. Thus, that way there will be no need for the people to move, and their land value will go up. I have the people at heart and with this project, we will create at least 6,000 new jobs. That is why we will also establish a training center to match skills with the demand in this industry.