Ports provide an interface between ocean- and land-based transport, playing an important role in country’s economic development. The member countries of ASEAN have been undertaking various projects to improve the level of productivity and capacity of ports. Southeast Asia Infrastructure tracks some of the key upcoming projects across the region…


The Government of Malaysia will build the new Perlis Inland Port (PIP) along the border with Thailand to increase international maritime trade. The project will be developed under a public-private partnership funding model with the government contributing RM 318 million and the private sector investing RM 1.2 billion. Work on the first phase of PIP is scheduled to be completed in 2024. This port will act as a new gateway for trade in Malaysia, primarily for container lines passing through Padang Besar. Once completed, the facility is expected to have an annual capacity of 2 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). This infrastructure project is also in line with the agreement between the governments of Malaysia and Thailand to raise bilateral trade to RM 126 billion by 2025.

Further, the Ministry of Transport of Malaysia has announced the Phase 3 expansion of Kuantan port in Gebeng to increase the port’s handling capacity from about 27 million tonnes (mt) to 50 mt. Kuantan Port Consortium Sdn Bhd (KPC) and the Kuantan Port Authority will undertake the reclamation process for a new breakwater and terminal. The agencies will also integrate the port into the Gebeng Industrial Park and Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park ecosystems. This phase of expansion will enable the port to fulfil the future demands of industrial companies such as Alliance Steel Sdn Bhd.

Additionally, the KPC has launched the Kuantan Port Green Policy to attain sustainable operation sand green development of the port between the period 2021 and 2030. Under this policy, the consortium will focus on the development of digitalisation and energy efficiency for


The expansion of the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) in the Philippines is one of the biggest projects in the country. International Container Terminal Services Incorporated (ICTSI) has commenced work on it. Under the PhP 15 billion expansion project, the company will add a berth (berth 8) to the port. The construction of the new berth will be carried out in two phases and will allow MICT to manage the demand for increased volume and accommodate nextgeneration container ships that can transport up to 18,000 TEUs. According to the plan, berth 8 will add a total of 400 metres of quay and up to 12 hectares of yard land in stages. The water near the dock will be dredged to a depth of 13.5 metres, with the possibility of further dredging up to a depth of 15 metres. MICT recently took delivery of eight new Mitsui hybrid rubber-tyred gantry cranes for its container yard to further improve operational efficiency in the light of growing volumes. ICTSI has partnered with PLDT Incorporated (formerly known as Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company) and its subsidiary Smart Communications Incorporated to operate the first 5G-enabled smart port at MICT. It will be the first port in the Philippines to implement 5G technology.The system is expected to improve freight flow efficiency and optimisation.


The Tuas Next-Generation Port project is being developed in four phases, with an investment of over $20 billion. Recently, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore completed fabrication works for all 227 caissons for Tuas Port Phase 2. Upon completion of the fourth and final project phase, scheduled after 2040, the Tuas terminal will be the largest container terminal in the world, with a total capacity of up to 65 million TEUs, compared with the combined 50 million TEU capacity of their five current port terminals. Tuas port will be a digital and automated port. Digital innovations such as Digitalport@SG and the just-in-time system will streamline vessel clearance processes, enable just-in-time operations and improve the turnaround time of ships in the port. Automated and electrified port equipment will also improve productivity.


The Indonesia Investment Authority (INA), the sovereign wealth fund, and Dubai-based DP World, a port operator, have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop seaports in the country. Under the agreement, INA and DP World will form a consortium to explore long-term investment opportunities across Indonesia. This partnership is expected to generate an economic value of more than $7.5 billion. The consortium will also partner with state port operator PT Pelabuhan Indonesia to boost the construction and upgradation of current ports. Further, Badan Pengusahaan Batam (BP Batam) will transform Batu Ampar port located in Kota Batam, Indonesia, into a smart port in an attempt to boost the port’s efficiency and provide low-cost services in the maritime trade sector. The company has deployed InaPortnet, a single entry system for ship-to-ship/floating storage unit activities, the BP Batam Seaport Information Management System and Foreign Ship Agency Notification. The short-term construction of Batu Ampar port is scheduled for completion in 2025. Initial works include the dredging of the harbour pond with a depth of 12 metres low water at springtide and the construction of a shipping container yard. Development of the port project will then proceed with the reinforcement of the northern wharf and rearrangement of the main gate together with gate automation. The Port Business Association of BP Batam will further provide six units of container cranes, 12 units of rubber-tyred gantry cranes, 24 units of truck heads, six units of reach stackers, three units of 40 tonne top loaders, and 48 units of chassis. By 2025, Kota Batam port intends to have 1.6 million TEUs in container streams and to be able to accommodate ships with a capacity of 3,000 TEUs or third-generation vessels for domestic containers.


Vietnam is set to spend VND 1.42 trillion on upgrading its biggest port hub, Cai Mep – Thi Vai, to receive bigger ships. According to the Maritime Project Management Board under the Ministry of Transport, the terminal in the southern province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau will have its width increased from 310 metres to 350 metres and depth from 14 metres to 15.5 metres. The Government of Vietnam plans to make the terminal an international transhipment hub. Work on the upgradation project will begin by the end of 2022.


In January 2022, the Council for the Development of Cambodia approved a massive investment project to develop a logistics and multi-purpose port in Kampot.The investment will help improve logistics and market competitiveness. Construction work is expected to start soon.The upcoming port will help complement the port of Sihanoukville.

In sum

Going forward, port projects will facilitate trade and commerce across the ASEAN region. These projects will offer abundant opportunities to construction contractors, technology providers and equipment suppliers in the port sector.