POIC Lahad Datu plans rail infra to widen investment prospects - MIDA | Malaysian Investment Development Authority
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POIC Lahad Datu plans rail infra to widen investment prospects

POIC Lahad Datu plans rail infra to widen investment prospects

01 Aug 2023

POIC Sabah is looking into introducing rail infrastructure to raise the investment potentials of the POIC Lahad Datu industrial park and expand Sabah’s logistics connectivity with the surrounding BIMP-EAGA territories.

POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd chairman Datuk Seri Panglima Yong Teck Lee said rail is the most cost-effective mode of transport for bulk cargo such as palm oil and biomass as well as a host of natural resources the region is known for.

While conventional rail is being considered to ease the movement of oil palm raw materials generated by over a million hectares of oil palm plantation in Lahad Datu and its surrounding districts, it is envisioned that it can be expanded to link up Sandakan and Tawau, the two major east coast towns.

This can then develop along the southern border to the interior towns of Keningau and Tenom to link up with the century-old Sabah State Railway.

Yong revealed the plan following a discussion with officials of the Changchun Railway Vehicles Company from Jilin Province in China at the POIC Sabah head office here, on Tuesday.

Changchun, a long established rail road development company and railway vehicle builder, was represented by Dong Lishu, its marketing director for Asia-Pacific and Malaysia representative Zhang Qiuhang. Accompanying them was Chen Pengyu, the company’s Sabah coordinator.

Also present were Datuk John Lo and Datuk Yusof Kassim who are members of the Sabah Economic Advisory Council and senior officers of POIC Sabah.

Its business development manager, Ve Ve Lo, who heads a section on China investments, briefed the visitors on POIC Lahad Datu and its rising regional profile.

POIC Sabah is wholly owned by the Sabah government. POIC Lahad Datu industrial park was set up in 2005 to spearhead downstream value adding on oil palm of which Sabah is a major player among Malaysian states.

In addition to oil palm-related industries, the company has added a five-prong strategy not only to add to investment attractions to POIC Lahad Datu, but the East Coast and Sabah’s overall development vision under the Sabah Maju Jaya master plan.

The five projects include the proposed Lahad Datu international airport, the BIMP-EAGA maritime academy, a free trade zone and BIMP-EAGA maritime transportation hub.

“We thank the State government for approving 3,000 acres of land for the free trade zone. The availability of a reliable rail transport system will make the free trade zone and the industrial park in general even more attractive to local and foreign investors,” Yong said, adding that POIC Sabah has been mandated by the State government to lead biomass development in Sabah in anticipation of the unveiling of a national biomass plan to succeed the National Biomass Strategy (NBS) launched in 2011.

Under NBS, Sabah was envisaged to be the national hub for second generation biofuel which is fuel from biomass left over from oil palm plantations and oil palm mills. Inhibiting costs of conventional trucking proved to be a stumbling block in collecting the resources from plantations and mills spread over a wide area.

“A rail system could potentially unlock our biomass potentials, ease the transport of palm oil and save our roads from heavy laden trucks,” he added, while also alluding to the potential utility of the rail system for the state’s plan to develop its vast terrestrial mineral resources.

Source: Borneo Post