LABUAN: Sailion Shipping, a Labuan-based shipping company, has marked a significant milestone by venturing into the realm of international cruises on Asian tours.
With branches established in major ports nationwide, the company, as port agent, had managed an international cruise in transit at Kota Kinabalu port on Nov 18.
Sailion Shipping is also responsible for overseeing cruises making stops at all main Malaysian and Brunei ports as well as supervising cruises transiting through Brunei.
Chief executive officer Datuk Seri Patrick Tiong said he is proud of the company’s capability to handle international cruises, emphasising its commitment to meet the expectations of its global clients.
“We have worked diligently to meet the expectations of our international clients…establishing long-term business relationships with our existing clients is a priority,” he said in an interview with Bernama today.
Tiong said Sailion Shipping also proposed other cruise operators to consider Labuan as a future transit destination.
Commenting on Sailion Shipping’s achievement, Assoc Prof Dr Romzi Ationg, a senior lecturer at University Malaysia Sabah (UMS), commended the Malaysian shipping company.
“This achievement places Malaysia, particularly Labuan, on the international map, showcasing a Malaysian company can proficiently handle international cruises with thousands of visitors from various countries onboard,” he said.
Looking ahead, Dr Romzi said Labuan has the potential to be a stopover for international cruises but the island needed to be fully prepared to receive large cruise ships, especially in terms of the readiness of Labuan’s port jetty.
He said he is skeptical about the port’s capacity to accommodate various vessel sizes and called for the Ministry of Transport (MOT) to assess the current state of Labuan’s port facilities.
“If Labuan aims to boost its tourism sector, upgrading the port jetty for international cruises is crucial,” he said.
He said Labuan’s port could take example of Penang’s port, which could accommodate two different-sized cruise ships with thousands of foreign visitors almost every week, contributing significantly to Penang’s tourism sector.
He added that Labuan possessed similar potential but infrastructure upgrades is imperative for the island to capitalise on its attractiveness as a cruise destination. – Bernama