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SPEECH BY
YANG BERHORMAT PEHIN ORANG KAYA AMAR PAHLAWAN DATO SERI SETIA AWANG HAJI ZAKARIA BIN DATU MAHAWANGSA HAJI SULAIMAN, MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS, BRUNEI DARUSSALAM
AT THE LAUNCHING CEREMONY OF HUB SHIPPING SDN BHD DIRECT SHIPPING SERVICES BETWEEN SHANGHAI, PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA; BANGPAKONG, THAILAND; PONTIANAK, INDONESIA; AND MUARA, BRUNEI DARUSSALAM
TUESDAY, 8TH APRIL 2003

Bismillahir Rahman Nirrahim Assalammualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarkatuh and a Very Good Morning.

First of all, allow me to thank the Ports Department and PSA Muara Container Terminal Sdn Bhd for inviting me, as Guest of Honour, to officiate the launching of the direct shipping services linking Muara with Shanghai, Bangpakong and Pontianak. It is indeed an honour to be with you all here this morning.

Since the Muara Container Terminal started operation, Ports Department and PSA Muara Container Terminal Sdn Bhd, who managed and run the Muara Container Terminal, with the cooperation of other Port Community, have been quite busy promoting and marketing Muara Port, both within and outside the country. Alhamdullilah, it appears that this continuous efforts and labour has began to bear fruit, with the launching to-day of a new direct shipping services linking Muara Port with three (3) other Ports. This is indeed quite a success that we can be reasonably proud of and I hope, with continuous efforts, we can expect more in the future.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Ports Department, PSA Muara Container Terminal Sdn Bhd and the Port Community in general, on their success in attracting Hub Shipping Sdn Bhd to operate into Muara Port and thus help making Muara Port as one of its Transhipment Hub in this region.

Congratulation also goes to Hub Shipping Sdn Bhd in establishing these direct shipping services to Muara Port from Shanghai, Bangpakong, and Pontianak and in choosing Muara Port as their transhipment hub in this sub-region. I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to Hub Shipping Sdn Bhd for their confidence in using Muara Port. I am pleased to note that Hub Shipping Sdn Bhd has been operating the Hong Kong- Muara direct services since March 2002.

With the establishment of these new direct container shipping services to Muara Port; the total number of ports linked to Muara Port has increased by three. With the increase in the number of direct shipping services and the increase in the number of foreign ports linked with Muara Port, we are one small but significant step forward in our vision to make Muara Port as a principal hub port in the BIMP-EAGA sub-region.

I hope that the ‘partnership’ between the Port Community and Hub Shipping Sdn Bhd will be further improved and expanded, by increasing the direct shipping services to other ports beside Hong Kong, Shanghai, Bangpakong and Pontianak. In this globalised world, it is becoming increasingly evident that transportation plays an important role. Any improvement in transportation, e.g. the opening up of direct services between 2 ports, will bring benefits to the consumers, because this will result in faster delivery of goods from factory to consumers. But, we must ensure that we can respond positively to this environment. Muara Port must keep abreast with development and the needs of the shipping lines and the port community.

I hope that such ‘partnership’ will be further enhanced so as to attract more shipping lines to operate into Muara Port and also to attract other companies to do their port related business activities and services at Muara Port.

In the port industry, ASEAN countries as a whole, have done extremely well – even in this difficult period, resulting from the financial crisis that swept through Asia and the impact of September 11th incident as well as regional tragedies such as the Bali bombings. In 2002, ASEAN countries handled 35 million TEUs, and this, I am told, is six times the volume handled by South Asia, even though we have less than a third of the population of South Asia. This volume is predicted to grow to 50 million TEUs in 2005 and to 70 million TEUs in 2010. The challenged before us, for Muara Port Community is - can we play our part and have a slice of this huge cake! What should we do? We have a limited market here in Brunei. Yes, true! But we can offer Muara as a logistic centre; as a distribution centre, cargo consolidation/deconsolidation centre and other value added services. The Port Community and the Ports Department must consistently work together to create the right environment for all these to happen. The function to-day is, therefore, significant in that it heralds the beginning of a new era in the port industry.

The realisation of the vision to make Muara Port as the hub port for the BIMP-EAGA sub-region requires full commitment and support from both the public and the private sector. I am confident that the Port Community can work together, consolidate their efforts and cooperation so that together we can realize this grand vision and putting Muara Port as one of the main ports in the sub-region.

As mentioned by the Director of Ports in his speech, as encouragement, the Ministry of Communications has given approval for the award of “Port Awards” to be presented to the Port Community on 29th April 2003. I do hope that such awards will further encourage the Port Community to double their efforts to ensure that they continue to provide excellent port and shipping services.

To conclude, once again, I would like to thank the Ports Department and PSA Muara Container Terminal Sdn Bhd for this kind invitation. I hope that the introduction of this new service will result in new activities and new industries which, I am sure will benefit not only the entrepreneurs but also Brunei Darussalam.

With the kalimah of BISMILLAHI RAHMAN NIRRAHIM, I have the honour and privilege to officially launch the Direct Shipping Services between Shanghai, People’s Republic of China; Bangpakong, Thailand and Pontianak, Indonesia to Muara Port, Brunei Darussalam.

Wabillitaufik Walhidayah, Wassalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarkatuh.
Thank you.

(c) Ministry of Communications