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LABUAN, June 20 (Bernama) -- Commencement of transhipment trade is expected to revive Labuan’s sluggish economic outlook, said Labuan Chamber of Commerce (LCC)
Its president Daniel Doughty said there was no positive indication from the local authorities to initiate or expedite the revival of transhipment activities on the duty-free island despite the Federal Territories Minister’s call in April this year.
“The Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim publicly announced the need to kick-start transhipment activities in Labuan for barter trade between Labuan and Southern Philippines to boost the island’s economy.
“It seems like the delay is due to the absence of approval on transhipment licences (from the Customs Department) to Labuan players, although the interest to participate is high,” he told Bernama today.
Shahidan, in April, had said Labuan would be reviving the traditional barter trade activities to revive the island’s economy.
He said the Federal Territories Ministry would be submitting an application to the relevant ministries.
Shahidan added that during the heydays of the trade, Labuan’s economy was good, and the revival of transhipment activities was necessary to create more jobs as well as generate incomes and business opportunities for eateries and hoteliers, among others.
Meanwhile, Doughty said the LCC would have a joint discussion with other business chambers to urge the relevant ministries to assist in expediting the revival of the activity.
“Transhipment trade between Labuan and the Philippines will have a trickle-down effect on the local economic activity, and encourage vessel calling at the Labuan port due to the spending power and critical mass that the Philippine market has.
“Labuan’s economic growth is moving slowly after being badly hit by the rigid shipping standard operating procedures that Labuan experienced in last two years that caused uncertainty of feeder’s vessel to call at the Labuan port until today,” he said.
Doughty said the LCC’s top leaders have had a lengthy and in-depth discussion about Labuan's economic situation and the way forward with Labuan MP Datuk Rozman Isli.
“We are hoping that the MP could help push this agenda (revival of transhipment trade,” he said.
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