Indonesia's Sabang Port being readied for supertankers

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 19 -- Indonesia’s Port of Sabang, in Aceh Province on the island of Pulau Weh at the northern entrance to the Malacca Strait, is being readied to accommodate super tankers and super cargo ships.

"We are convinced several years to come or in 2012 at the earliest the port could accommodate super tankers and super cargo ships which cannot pass the Malacca Strait," said Irwandi Yusuf, governor of Aceh province.

"It is important to be considered because Sabang is very strategic,” Irwandi said, adding that he hoped Sabang could be developed as a hub port for tankers and cargo ships.

Irwandi’s remarks came as Indonesia’s state shipping firm PT Pelabuhan Indonesia (Pelindo) handed over a 180-m pier, 11 hectares of land, and a warehouse worth $1.74 million to the Aceh government.

According to Irwandi, Pelindo’s handover of the facilities marks the starting point for development of the area, and that $426-533 million would be needed to develop Sabang port.

Irwandi said he would seek cooperation with Ireland’s Dublin Port Co., which last week signed an 18-month business contract with the Indonesian government to take control of the management of Sabang port.

The agreement was signed on Nov. 13, allowing Dublin Port Co.—through its partner HD Asia Maritime—to take part in the port's management, replacing Pelindo.

Under the agreement, Dublin Port Co.—considered the world's 12th largest port operator—would handle all the port's operations and improve facilities, including the container yard, storage facilities, warehouses, and cargo terminals.

"We will also provide top-class security services for the port's customers and carry out marketing promotions to bring more ships to Sabang," said Bernardus R. Djonoputro, chief executive officer of HD Asia Advisory, parent of HD Asia Maritime.

The appointment of Dublin Port came as Sabang port is embarking on a massive overhaul that could cost up to 8.8 trillion rupiah by 2015 and provide 2,617 m of piers.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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