The Lahad Datu palm oil industrial cluster (PIOC) port handled its first shipment of methanol for a biodiesel plant owned by Malaysia’s Genting Group.

The port located in Lahad Datu, Malaysia, showed it was capable of handling hazardous materials when it imported 1,500 tonnes of methanol from Bontang, Indonesia on 25 August, New Straits Times (NST) reported.

Methanol – a combustible product from natural gas – is a key component in the transesterification process to produce biodiesel.

NST said there were two palm oil-based biodiesel plants in Lahad Datu under the Genting flagship, which combined produced 300,000 tonnes of biodiesel/year.

Some biodiesel from the facilities was exported and some was blended with locally consumed diesel.

The company previously trucked in its methanol supply from Sandakan, Malaysia, said a spokesman for Genting Biodiesel vice president of processing, Vijayam Manikam.

“Bringing in methanol by ship and pumping it straight to storage is efficient and cost-saving,” he said.

The POIC port comprised terminals for dry and liquid bulk as well as container cargo, NST wrote.

The port, developed at an estimated cost of RM1bn (US$240M), was owned and operated by the Sabah state government through POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd.