Brunei launches first container shipping link with China
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Brunei launches first container shipping link with China

By In News On July 11, 2023

Brunei launched its first container shipping link to China on Saturday, connecting Muara, its sole deepwater port, and Qinzhou in Beibu Gulf, China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

The service was launched with Harbour-Link Group’s 735 teu Harbour Starcalling at Bintulu, Qinzhou, Hong Kong and Muara.

The liner service will run monthly during a three-month testing period, before being increased to fortnightly.

Bruneian seafood and fruit will be shipped to Qinzhou, while fruit and vegetables from Guangxi Zhuang are expected to be transhipped in Muara.

It takes just seven days for cargo to reach Qinzhou from Muara, and five days in the other direction. Previously, it took 10 days to a month and at least two weeks in the opposite direction.

Bruneian and Chinese officials said a direct container shipping link was feasible now trade between the two countries had grown significantly.

Last year, Brunei-China volumes were up nearly 8% from 2021, to $3.08bn, the highest since the South-east Asian sultanate established diplomatic ties with China in 1991.

Brunei has been working with China as part of its Belt and Road initiative and the launch of the service comes a year after Muara and Beibu Gulf ports signed a memorandum of understanding. The agreement saw Beibu Gulf Port supporting Muara’s project to more than double its container handling capacity from 225,000 teu to 500,000 teu, and to start the liner service.

In 2014, an agreement on Brunei-Guangxi Economic Corridor Economic and Trade Cooperation was signed. Three years later, Brunei Muara Port, a joint venture between Beibu Gulf Port Group and Brunei Darussalam Asset Management Company, was established, facilitating the Brunei-Guangxi Economic Corridor’s development. The formation of the joint venture came shortly after Philippines terminal operator ICTSI ceded control over the Muara terminal.

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