Built in 1973 as a deep water port, Muara Port is Brunei's largest port, and also the country's main international trade channel. It is positioned on the northeastern coast of the entrance of Brunei Bay, to the southeast of the South China Sea.
Muara Port is currently run by a joint-venture company, Muara Port Company Sdn Bhd (MPC), formed on February 15, 2017, by Brunei's Darussalam Assets Sdn Bhd and China’s Beibu Gulf Holding (Hong Kong) Co., Ltd.
On July 18, 2018, MPC took over the Muara conventional terminal, officially taking over the whole operation and management of Muara Port.
The change brought by the Chinese side is obvious, and Chinese efficiency has been reflected in many aspects, including the process of taking over the port. “It only took us one day to take over the container port,”said Zhong Kunyu, vice general manager of MPC.
“It can also be seen in the efficiency of running the port,” Zhong explained. “First, the average vessel operation rate has increased by over 47 percent when compared with before we took it over. Second, as another indicator, the average haulier turnaround time could be increased by over 50 percent.”
According to data from the official MPC website, the general cargo capacity rose from 349,918 tons in 2014 to 735,183 tons in 2018. Moreover, the container throughput rose from 98,561 transmission extension units (TEU) in 2016 to 113,125 TEUs in 2018.
The company primarily focuses on the management and future upgrading of Muara Port. In accordance with the standard of global "facilities, technology, management, service" requirements, MPC plans to build Muara Port into a "more intelligent, more modern, more environment-friendly, and more international" port.
However, the company is not only focusing on the port itself. It also aims to complete the whole system by perfecting the software. The training system for local employees is one such area that could determine the future development of this deep-water port.
According to Zhong, the company has a training program for local employees to learn about related knowledge and technology. Some of the best employees will be sent to Beibu Gulf Port Group in China’s Guangxi for a port management course. The venture is focused on more local employees running the administration group, thus, more job opportunities will be offered to the locals.
Meanwhile, in planning to build an industrial park in the future, the company will improve the attraction and competitiveness of Brunei in the international industrial transferring process, and rapidly promote Brunei’s economic development.
The Muara port is a flagship project under the framework of the Brunei-Guangxi Economic Corridor, and is also a project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.