The implementation of the Penang undersea tunnel project is set to be considered by the state government after the finalization of the North Butterworth Container Terminal (NBCT) Expansion Plan in December 2023. This update comes from Zairil Khir Johari, the State Infrastructure and Transportation Committee chairman.
According to Khir Johari, the Penang Port Commission (SPPP) has emphasized the importance of maintaining a ship navigation width of 2.2 kilometers in the waters of the north port area to ensure safe navigation for larger vessels. Given the trend toward building larger ships with optimal sizes between 13,000 to 15,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU), the need for a safe passage with a minimum depth of 23 meters is crucial for these vessels.
One of the considerations for the undersea tunnel project is to align it in a way that does not disrupt or obstruct the extension of the additional wharf.
In addition to the undersea tunnel project, Khir Johari also touched on the progress of the Penang South Island project (PSI). The approval of the Environmental Management Plan in July has led to the commencement of reclamation work on Silicon Island. The first piece of land, known as Green Tech Park, is expected to be completed in December 2025, while the entire Silicon Island, covering an area of 2,300 acres, is set to be fully filled by 2032.
These developments are part of the broader infrastructure and transportation plans in Penang, aimed at ensuring sustainable growth and meeting the needs of a changing maritime landscape.