Kuantan Port embarks on green journey to unlock commercial potential

The Malaysian port in the east coast wants to ensure energy efficiency, sustainability of the port’s ecosystem and to intensify digitalization.

Malaysia’s Kuantan Port in Pahang has recently announced a commitment towards environmental sustainability through the Kuantan Port Green Policy. The policy is a guide to the development and operation of a safe, sustainable, smart and commercially viable port, to be realized by 2030.

Kuantan Port is a multipurpose port in the east coast region of Peninsular Malaysia. The port, which commenced full operation in 1984, is situated at Tanjung Gelang, about 25 kilometers north of Kuantan city and facing South China Sea. 

The Kuantan Port Green Policy, launched by Malaysia’s Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Wee Ka Siong on January 16, outlines a long-term plan to ensure that the development of the port is in line with the Malaysian Government’s commitment in the context of energy efficiency, sustainability of the port’s ecosystem and intensifying of digitalization in line with the country’s Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0).

Kuantan Port has taken several green initiatives including the use of more environmentally friendly machinery such as Rubber Tyred Gantry hybrids to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent, limiting vehicle entry into the port area, and automating the port’s processes and operations.  It is also looking into the provision of shore power supply to ships and to increase the use of solar energy.

Achieving green by 2030

The Kuantan Port Green Policy outlines five general objectives to be achieved by 2030. Topping the five is to ensure that the quality of air, land and sea cleanliness as well as waste management stays at optimal level. 

The second objective is to expand the efficient use of resources such as electricity and water as well as to expand sustainability practices to all activities. Other objectives are to reduce carbon emissions to targeted levels and to drive a smart port operating ecosystem.

In order to achieve these objectives, five strategic thrusts have also been outlined. They are reducing the level of air pollution, reducing carbon footprint, controlling marine pollution in the port areas, implementing energy and water resource efficiency initiatives, and to have a systematic waste management control.

Embracing digitalization

Kuantan Port has developed an online service delivery system to optimize services to customers. This enabled the digital transformation of port operations in conducting transactions, managing customers and getting feedback in a fully online environment, which resulted in the improvement of service efficiency.

Kuantan Port is now actively implementing digital transformation initiatives through the digitization of manual processes to ensure more efficient operations, and upgrading systems such as Container Terminal Operating System (CTOS) and Multipurpose Terminal Operating System (MTOS). 

Other upgraded systems included Dangerous Goods Declaration System (e-DG), Pre-Entry Notification of Ship Security System (e-PENS), Asset and Store Management System, Free Zone Application System (e-ZB), and the marine VTMS which covers the implementation of improvements to navigational safety, environmental protection and rescue and emergency coordination. 

The port also uses Internet of Things and automation to obtain more accurate data and analysis. 

Going green to attract more commercial opportunity

Kuantan Port, with a comprehensive infrastructure network and the presence of industrial areas such as Gebeng Industrial Estate and Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP), has attracted foreign direct investments from companies such as Maxtrek Tires, which will contribute 14,000 TEUs of container handling by 2024. 

The latest is Bosai Minerals Group, which is expected to invest RM10.6 billion (US$2.5 billion) in the construction of the ‘Coke-Electricity-Aluminum and Ferroalloy’ circular economic industrial project at MCKIP.

Alliance Steel (ASSB), an in the MCKIP, has brought in investments of about RM 5.84 billion (US$1.39 billion). ASSB’s cargo handling in 2020 was 12.74 million tons and 9.88 million tons in 2021. After completion of Phase 2 of the expansion work, expected to finish in 2024, ASSB’s cargo handling capacity is expected to rise to 20 million tons per annum, and production capacity to 10 million tons per annum. 

Growing demand from industrial areas

Kuantan Port is also currently focusing on the port development to meet the growing demand for its services, particularly from cargo handling by Alliance Steel and new investments in MCKIP.

There is also demand to berth larger ships and the capacity to handle higher traffic to support the industrial areas in the east coast of Malaysia, namely the states of Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan. In the long run, the growth potential of the port will depend on the development of the industrial area on the east coast, which requires a well-equipped port to import raw materials and export finished goods.

Kuantan Port has reached 50 percent capacity at present and this figure is expected to increase further by 2027. According to Kuantan Port, the new infrastructure at its Deep-Water Terminal opens up more opportunities and further expand dry bulk cargo handling, container handling and bulk cargo. 

The establishment of the Kuantan Port Free Commercial Zone also further diversifies services at the port to facilitate value-added services. In line with that, Kuantan Port Authority plans to expand the area north of the existing Kuantan Port to meet the needs of investors in the future. 

Transport Minister Wee said the amount of cargo handled at the Kuantan Port is projected to increase by five percent this year, from the 22.9 million tons recorded in 2021. According to him, the fall of the port’s cargo handling from 27.3 million in 2020 was due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which affected many sectors of the country’s economy. 

He added that work to expand the port had already been implemented to increase cargo handling capacity to 50 million tons per year for now, 70 million tons for phase two and 90 million tons when completed.

Wee also said that the 665-km East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project that is expected to be ready in December 2026, is set to be the ‘land bridge’ connecting Kuantan Port and Port Klang in Selangor, saving time and cost. Kuantan Port will be a major component of the east coast’s long term logistic and transport infrastructure development.

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