BioHub Port to spur Sarawak’s economy

by NUR HANANI AZMAN/ pic by TMR FILE

THE first BioHub Port in Malaysia, to be built on a 2,500ha land between Bintulu and Samalaju, Sarawak, is estimated to cost RM20 billion.

Expected to start in the first quarter of 2021 (1Q21), the project with a timeline of over 10 years is a strategic collaboration between Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM), Regal Lands Sdn Bhd, Bintulu Port Holdings Bhd and the Port of Rotterdam.

AIM CEO Naser Jaafar said AIM would act as the coordinator of the project, which is currently at the feasibility studies phase with its master plan expected to be revealed by 1Q21.

“We have been supporting this project since the start with like-minded stakeholders and strong implementation partners to make this vision a reality.

“AIM has spent significant time and effort to form collaborations with the right fit of stakeholders who are aligned to the vision of the National Biomass Strategy,” he told reporters after showcasing the BioHub Port yesterday.

AIM senior VP (strategic impact project) Timothy Ong said the project costing will come from the consortium key partners, excluding the downstream companies, which would also be investing.

“There are few parties who are keen to take part in this project and right now we are talking to at least four potential partners,” he added.

Meanwhile, Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar in his speech read by Mosti secretary general Datuk Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir (picture) said the BioHub Port is a major development for AIM’s initiative to develop, accelerate and consolidate sustainable biomass economy for the country.

“This is based on the years of collaboration between AIM, on behalf of the government, an agency under Mosti and the Sarawak government with the view to transform biomass resources into a catalyst of growth which will contribute towards the gross national income for Malaysia and create high-value jobs.

“With Port of Rotterdam’s knowhow, combined with the localised technical and feedstock knowledge of Bintulu Port, Regal and other consortium partners, Sarawak will be well-positioned to realise its potential as an ideal location for high-value biomass industry and transform into Malaysia’s and Asia’s first integrated circular economy and symbiosis BioHub Port,” she added.

The BioHub Port has been identified as an enabling component to this plan.

Conceptualised, promoted and supported by AIM with a growing list of esteemed implementation partners, the port will help spur highly localised and value-added activities, such as integrated research and development and innovation, and technology-based business opportunities for both local and international stakeholders.

It has been estimated that Sarawak stands to capture about RM4.8 billion additional revenue per year, create more than 35,000 new green jobs and generate approximately RM18 billion in investments.

This development is consistent with the government’s focus on achieving sustainable development goals through the deployment of frontier technologies and circular economy models for projects.

The BioHub Port project is aligned to the Sarawak Biomass Industry Development Plan, an action plan developed collectively by AIM, Sarawak government and relevant stakeholders to drive this industry.