The Negeri Sembilan government, in partnership with Malaysia-listed company Tanco Holdings Berhad, have announced the signing of a joint venture agreement for the development of Malaysia’s first smart artificial intelligence (AI) container port at Dickson Bay, Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan of Malaysia.

This pioneer project, which has received a nod from the Ministry of Transport of Malaysia, marks a significant milestone in Negeri Sembilan’s strategic development in support of the nation’s economic growth, the duo said in a statement on Monday.

The Malaysia’s first smart artificial intelligence (AI) container port will be built at an estimated cost of MYR2 billion ($423.15 million), local media The Malay Mail reported.

Midports Holdings Sdn Bhd, a 79 percent-owned subsidiary of Tanco (MHSB) and Menteri Besar Negeri Sembilan (Pemerbadanan) (MBINS), have entered into a joint venture (JV) to develop the proposed smart AI container port that includes an additional 33.66 hectares (83.19 acres) of seabed land submerged off Dickson Bay, District of Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan.

Both entities will set up a joint venture company (JVC), which will serve as the development backbone of the project, driving forward the construction and future operation of the smart AI container port.

The shareholding of the JVC will be 80 percent by MHSB and the balance 20 percent by MBINS.

“This smart AI container port is not just a development; it’s a leap towards revolutionizing our state’s and Malaysia’s economic landscape,

“We are setting the foundation for future generations, ensuring Negeri Sembilan plays a crucial role in both the state’s and nation’s economic growth and global maritime logistics,” Negeri Sembilan’s Menteri Besar Aminuddin Harun said.

He also added that the smart AI container port marks a transformative development for Negeri Sembilan, promising job creation, enhanced land values, and potentially leading to developing new industrial zones, as well as existing industrial zones, in close proximity to the smart AI container port, attracting both local and foreign investments.

According to him, this growth in infrastructure will generate significant revenue for Negeri Sembilan and the nation, reinforcing Malaysia’s position in international trade and establishing the region as a key economic hub.

He further emphasized the project’s significance in attracting investment and technology.

“The establishment of this port is a clear signal to the world that we are ready to enable the future of trade and technology,

“This venture is expected to attract more Foreign Direct Investment that will positively contribute to gross domestic product (GDP) and foster the growth of high-tech technology factories, further solidifying Malaysia’s position as a key player in the global economy,” he added.

According to the statement, the proposed smart AI container port will be supported by a 480-acre landbank owned by Tanco, eliminating additional land acquisition costs.

The site is strategically located at the midway of the Straits of Malacca and features a natural deep water access with more than 21 meters in depth that is 1.8km from the shoreline, is capable of accommodating the largest container ships globally.

This strategic advantage is critical, as the Straits of Malacca is one of the busiest straits in the world, and positions Negeri Sembilan to capitalize on this bustling maritime route.

It is designed to leverage cutting-edge technologies that will enable automated and efficient container handling, predictive maintenance, and enhanced security measures, setting new standards in operational efficiency and environmental sustainability.

“This port in Port Dickson is a testament to our commitment to innovation and sustainability,

“The integration of advanced AI and smart technologies will enhance our logistics capabilities and ecosystem and position Malaysia as a leader in automated and sustainable port operations,” said Andrew Tan Juan Suan, Group Managing Director of Tanco Holdings.

According to him, the smart AI container port also offers logistical advantages by significantly reducing transportation costs for gateway containers for businesses currently dependent on distant ports, and enhancing speed and efficiencies for transshipment containers.

This strategic proximity is also expected to decrease carbon emissions, demonstrating Tanco’s contribution to sustainable practices, he noted.

“We have started our groundwork and invited foreign industrialists to the smart AI container port location,

“These industrialists have expressed positive feedback and interest for the potential development of new industrial park(s) in close proximity to the smart AI container port to establish a more conducive trade and logistic ecosystem to accelerate the state’s industrialization plans,” he said.

With keen interest from various groups expressed and to realize this strategic initiative to establish a smart AI container port, he said the firm also plan for MHSB, a subsidiary of Tanco, to seek permission from the relevant Malaysian authorities to undertake an infrastructure listing on their local exchange in due course.

Tanco, originally known as Jeram Kuantan (Malaya) Ltd, owns vast landbank and has diversified business activities in property development, construction, construction materials supply, pharmaceutical and now also port development.

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