Malaysian Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Othman Aziz said the RM28 million upgrading project would end the logistical constraints on the island following its rapid development since the last three decades.
“With this new dock, which is part of the port expansion project, I foresee it will be able to cater to the demand for the next 10 to 15 years,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the handing over ceremony of the upgraded port project here.
Othman said the upgraded port would also complement the Langkawi International Airport expansion which is expected to be completed in August next year.
“With all these plans in place, Langkawi will be able to achieve its target of attracting five million tourists by 2020,” he said.
A yacht docking and servicing facility featured in the project will provide employment for local youths with technical and vocational skills, he said, adding that this was one of the ways the local community would benefit from economic development on the island.
Meanwhile, Langkawi Development Authority Chief Executive Officer Datuk Azizan Noordin said the port, managed by LADA’s subsidiary, Langkawi Port Sdn Bhd, would be able to handle up to 442,000 metric tonnes of cargo when the upgrading works are completed.
“It is expected that five RORO (roll-on, roll-off) ferries would be operating next year from three at present. Consequently, we expect the ferry service to accommodate some 195,000 vehicles and 380,000 passengers,” he said.
Azizan said the volume of cargo handled at the port increased 161 per cent over a period of 18 years, from 148,000 metric tonnes in 1998 to 387,000 metric tonnes last year.
“The number of vehicles handled rose 496 per cent from only 23,000 units in 1998 to about 137,000 units in 2016. Passenger traffic also soared from 22,000 people in 2013 to about 217,000 last year,” he added.
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