Two ferry companies that have received their operation licence for the Labuan-Menumbok shuttle route should start operating as soon as possible, Deputy Transport Minister Abdul Rahim Bakri said today.
He said this was due to the increasing demand and need for the service especially involving vehicle transportation.
Abdul Rahim told reporters the ministry had approved two operation licences of the RO-RO ferry to companies from Sabah and Labuan.
He added that it was an addition to a licence owned by the Labuan Ferry Corporation (LFC) to raise the number of operators and the quality of the service.
He was responding to the pressure by the state lorry operators to approve the applications of the two companies, which were said to use landing crafts and not the RO-RO vessels.
RO-RO (roll-on/roll-off) vessels are those designed to carry wheeled cargo such as cars and trucks that are driven on and off the vessel on their ownwheels.
The Mainland Link (LML) Sdn Bhd in Labuan and Juta Bonus Sdn Bhd in Sabah have been appointed by the state government to break the monopoly of the ferry service by LFC for the past decade.
“In the past, there were grumbling and monopoly allegations of the RO-RO ferry service.
Due the increase in demands and needs, the ministry has given a positive response to expand the service,” he said.