Our Rivers As An Alternative To
10 - 15 years down
the road, traffic congestion on our roads will be far worse than it is
today if no alternative ways of travel are found. What would be the alternative
source of transport for us? The next best alternative that we can think
of is our rivers - 55 of them in Sarawak and 32 of these are the main
navigable ones with a total length of 3,500 km!
It is a fact
that river transportation has always played a leading role in Sarawak
as much as it has been in all parts of the world. Beside acting as a
channel of communication since olden days between urban and rural communities,
rivers is seen as an economical conveyor of cargoes and passengers alike.
The rapid socio-economic
development in Sarawak demands the shift of focus from domestic to one
of regional and global outlook. This in turn will generate a higher
demand for roads as well as rivers for the transport of goods within
At a recent seminar
on 'Inland Water Transport' in Kuching, distinguished speakers presented
working papers on ways and means to make greater use of our rivers for
the future integrated plan of transportation in Sarawak. The following
are abstracts from some of the papers presented at the seminar.
waterways have been the backbone of transportation in Sarawak providing
essential services to the hinterlands and to ports and towns. In recent
years, this role has declined owing to policies to invest in other forms
of transport. But with the increase in economic activities involving large
volumes of cargo from plantations and agriculture estates, there is now
a growing realisation that Inland Water Transport (IWT) has the potential
to act as a vital interface with other modes.
in IWT has also increased considerably. Despite the development of coastal
roads in Sarawak that will be able to connect most of the coastal settlements
with one another in speed and volume that was not imaginable ten years
ago, such roads would not be capable of providing for the large industrial
and agricultural products that would require larger volumes and heavier
vehicles to bring them to the nearest ports.
With the development
of the riverine ports and settlements into tourist spots as well as
the continuous effort for rehabilitation and improvements of inland
waterways as safe and clean routes, the future of IWT as an alternative
but integrated part of communications within the state is bright.
Inland Water Transport: Prospects
& Challenges for the 21st Century (A Conceptual Framework) By Tuan
Haji Salleh bin Haji Sulaiman, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Infrastructure
Development & Communications
Tuan Haji Salleh
bin Haji Sulaiman
Rivers can easily transport
large volume of logs
Prof. Dr. Lau Seng addresses some of the environmental issues arising
from the development of modern inland transport system. These issues
are water and air pollutions, biodiversity conservation, heritage and
cultural preservation, socio-economic implications and riverbanks erosion.
The environmental impacts of IWT can be looked at through three major
phases of development - the construction and installation of facilities;
the operational phase and the restoration and maintenance phases.
Environmental Consideration in
Inland Water Transport. By Assoc. Prof. Dr. Lau Seng, Universiti Malaysia
The natural environment
along the rivers are to be preserved when planning for inland
Rivers are used
for various purposes. The most common one would be in the form of water
supply for irrigation purposes but more often as a drainage system.
Rivers exist in the form of natural waterways as a result of geographical
terrain. They are there to provide numerous benefits for the well being
of a local community. Since the emergence of road networks, rivers have
been discriminately neglected and used only for limited functions.
One of the most
highly recommended solution is to upgrade or improve these river system
into a transportation system to co-exist with other modes of transport
in an intermodalism concept. Through these systems, IWT can be fully
utilised for optimum economic advantage while contributing to a wider
benefit in terms of social and environmental.
This study identifies
the requirement, demands and level of the proposed development of Sarawak
River in relation to the suggested measures for consideration in achieving
the anticipated benefits from development.
Intermodal Transport System For
Kuching City - A Case Study of Sarawak River. By Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ab
Saman Bin Kader, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and Mr William Jinep,
Sarawak Rivers Board
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ab Saman
bin Abd Kader
transportation infrastructure is of prime importance in enabling nations
to achieve integrated socio-economic development. Such infrastructure
requires continuous maintenance and upgrading to meet changes in cargo
flows and to keep pace with technological developments in transport
and cargo handling systems.
In many countries,
the focus for expenditure on major investments has moved from capital
works to improvements in more effective management, operations, maintenance
and rehabilitation of transport networks. As far as river improvement
for IWT is concerned, the development of a waterway aims at minimising
natural and physical constraints. Usually, the most important of these
are: inadequate channel depth and width, sharp river bends, unacceptable
flow velocities, unstable channels, the presence of banks, crossings
or rocky sections, seasonal variability, etc.
classification of vessels and waterways effectively quantifies the navigation
capacity of a country's waterway network, thus providing a clear insight
into where and when the safe passage of certain vessel types is guaranteed
in order that cargo shipping can be adequately planned.
Inland Waterways Network, Classification
and Channel Improvement. By Donald Macleod, Director, Pos Ford (Sarawak)