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Cooperation projects become China’s symbol in Brunei

(People's Daily)    17:30, November 21, 2018

Chinese national flags are raised on a street of Bandar Seri Begawan, capital of Brunei. Photo by Lin Rui from People’s Daily

The co-construction of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping has received active response and strong supports from Brunei.

In the country, a series of major cooperation projects, including the Empangan Jubli Emas Ulu Tutong, have boosted interconnectivity and become a symbol of China in Brunei.

Brunei’s Three Gorges Dam--Empangan Jubli Emas Ulu Tutong

Empangan Jubli Emas Ulu Tutong is Brunei’s largest hydraulic project co-built by Power Construction Corporation of China and local company Pahaytc Venture Sdn Bhd.

The dam is located in a tropical rainforest 23 kilometers from Kampong Belaban, Tutong District. “The region used to be immersed in floods for two or three months each year since it is near the Tutong River, but flood scarcely occurred after the dam was constructed a year ago,” a local resident told People’s Daily. Local media said that the dam would benefit over 250,000 people.

Students of Brunei’s Chung Hwa Middle School demonstrate calligraphy works. Photo by Sun Guangyong from People’s Daily

The project was officially delivered to the Bruneian side on Nov. 17. Every detail of the project was delicately built, said a Bruneian official named Zaki, adding that besides relieving flood disasters, the project also provides water resources for Bruneian economic development.

After renovation by the Chinese company, the 23-kilometer path linking the Kampong Belaban and the dam is no longer muddy and rugged, but a flat road covered by asphalt.

“The transportation has become more convenient thanks to the new road. Some villagers have gradually left the mountains and built new houses along the road,” said a local villager, who compared the dam to the Three Gorges Dam in China and expressed his gratitude to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Brunei's largest container terminal-- Port of Muara

Bruneian technicians give thumbs up for Empangan Jubli Emas Ulu Tutong, a dam jointly built by a Chinese contractor and a local company. Photo by Sun Guangyong from People’s Daily

The Port of Muara is an important part of the construction of the Guangxi-Brunei Economic Corridor. In February 2017, the Muara Port Company Sdn Bhd, a joint venture, established by China's Guangxi Beibu Gulf Port Group and Brunei's Darussalam Asset, took over the operation of the Brunei's largest container terminal.

Muara Port is the only public dock in Brunei. Mike is the head of the company’s container operation department who has worked at the port for years. According to him, the Chinese company has brought drastic changes to the port.

He noted that no new equipment was purchased at the port during the past 20 years. But within a couple of months after the joint venture was formed, four lifting machines, three stacking machines, as well as other facilities, were immediately added. Also, computer replaced labor force in managing the port.

Mike and his colleagues made new achievements under the support of the advanced technologies. In the first 10 months of this year, the Muara Port handled 93,257 TEUs, a year-on-year increase of 7 percent.

An aerial picture of Zhejiang Hengyi Petrochemical’s project in Brunei. File photo

In a year’s efforts, the average operating efficiency per ship of the port reached 30.2 units per hour, up 50 percent from a year ago. The efficiency of picking up and returning the containers has been slashed by more than half an hour to 25 minutes on average.

The changes of the Muara Port have brought tangible benefits to the Bruneian people.

Malcolm, general manager of Wan Ling Trading Company, which imports dozens of containers from Singapore each month, said he had to spend about 1,800 Brunei dollars, or 9,000 yuan on shipping each TEU before the port was built. Also, extra would be cost when failures of lifting machines happened or holidays come. Besides, he had to pay for the storage expenses.

“But now the cost is much lower and the efficiency for picking up the goods is much higher. The Chinese technologies and management experiences have brought concrete benefits to us,” he said. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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