GEORGE TOWN (Nov 23): The State Legislative Assembly was on Thursday told that the implementation of the undersea tunnel will be considered by the state government after the North Butterworth Container Terminal (NBCT) Expansion Plan has been finalised by the Penang Port Commission (SPPP) in December 2023.

State Infrastructure and Transportation Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari (pictured) said based on the comments of SPPP, the ship navigation width of 2.2 km in the waters on north port area has to be maintaIned to ensure safe navigation space for ship movements.

“With the trend towards building larger ships and the optimal ship size between 13,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) to 15,000 TEU to enter and stop at the port, these ships are expected to have water loads (draft) maximum of 16 metres.

“While the minimum safe depth for a safe passage for ships of this size is 23 metres from sea level,” he said when winding up the motion of thanks to the Penang Governor’s address at the state assembly sitting on Thursday.

Therefore, he said that among the considerations of this undersea tunnel project is the alignment of the tunnel so that it does not become a disturbance or obstacle to the extension of the additional wharf.

Touching on the issue of the Penang South Island project (PSI), Zairil said following the approval of the Environmental Management Plan on July 21, the reclamation of Silicon Island began in September with the installation of buoys marking the project site area and a silt curtain to deal with silt dispersion during reclamation work.

“After the silt curtain was properly installed, sand filling work was also started at the site where, to date, approximately three acres of land has been formed at the Silicon Island site.

“According to the project planning, the first piece of land, which is the industrial land that will be known as Green Tech Park, is expected to be completed in December 2025 while Silicon Island, which covers an area of 2,300 acres, is expected to be completely filled in 2032,” he said.

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