Malaysia looks to Strait of Malacca for slice of Maritime Silk Route action

Ships in Strait of MalaccaThe Malaysian government is looking for investors to back its plans to develop a giant new deep-sea port and industrial city at Carey Island, some 70km south west of Kuala Lumpur on the Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest shipping channel – and one which is central to China’s ambitions to develop the Maritime Silk Route Economic Belt.
The port itself would provide bunkering, ship repairing and maintenance for container ships, bulk and liquid carriers, as well as vessels carrying grains, minerals and vehicles. It is expected to cost around $45bn and take six to seven years to complete, although ships should be able to dock there as early as 2019. The authorities are also hoping to attract up to $200bn in investment to develop a larger onshore complex of industrial parks and free trade zones, commercial and residential buildings.
Strait of Malacca mapThe Carey Island project is not the only new development being planned for the Malaysian side of the 900-km long Strait of Malacca, a key choke point on the maritime route between Europe, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific, which carries about 40% of the world’s trade and, critically, 80% of China’s imports of crude oil.
Melaka Gateway MalaysiaSome 160km down the coast, construction is already well under way at the $7.3bn Melaka Gateway, a mixed-use development that will see three reclaimed and one natural island developed for a combination of tourism, commercial property and maritime use. The project is being developed by a joint venture set up between Malaysia’s KAJ Developments and China’s Power China International, both state-run companies.