| Aziz Idris |
LOCAL boat manufacturer, Ken and Tan Sdn Bhd, shipped their first batch of fibre-glass boats to Singapore via the Muara Commercial Port recently, according to the company’s Managing Director, Tan Soon Yang.
Seven of the multi-purpose boats are being shipped to Singapore in two separate batches. The first batch comprised two 19-foot and a 23-foot boat while the second batch will consist of another three boats. The second batch will be shipped at the end of the month.
Ken and Tan Sdn Bhd has been manufacturing multi-purpose boats for three decades with all the designs, research and development conducted locally, including the fabrication of the fibre-glass.
The boats are mostly for the transportation of people, however, due to their open-concept design and client specifications for the interior, the boats are suitable for any purpose, explained Tan Soon Yang.
He added that the low production cost in Brunei Darussalam for their manufacture is the major factor that attracted Singaporean buyers.
“We are in a good position to compete by being in Brunei because we have the price factor working for us. If we were to expand to Singapore, it would be much harder to compete.”
He also admitted that the price for manufacturing boats is very competitive with Malaysia and the Philippines manufacturing boats at even lower prices. Despite this he is not troubled with such a level of competition because all his boats are made to the highest standard.
“I run my own Research and Development Department with every attention being given to the design of the hull and beam in order for boats to chop the waves while in use, as well as resisting extreme weather conditions. My fibre-glass boats are made to last for 30 years, with proper maintenance,” he said.
Established in 1996, Ken and Tan Sdn Bhd has built 300 various kinds of boats annually at its factory located at the Salar Industrial Estate in Muara. The company has exported boats to Australia and Malaysia as well as supplying domestic demand.
The Ministry of Health, Fisheries Department, Brunei-Muara District Department, Marine Department, Fire and Rescue Department, Royal Brunei Armed Forces, Royal Brunei Police Force and private members of the public are among his customers.
The company is planning to boost its operation into the global market after getting approval from the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, to expand its boat yard at the industrial site.
With new lots being awarded by the ministry, Tan Soon Yang is confident that his company can continue contributing towards economic diversification as well as assisting small and medium sized enterprises in the tourism and fisheries sectors.