MARINE Engineering

Marine engineering refers to specialized water-related engineering tasks and planning, which constitutes HSL’s core strength. In its early years, HSL started as a sand dredging and landfill operation with a single ship which the company was named after – the Hock Seng Lee, or “good business” in the local Hokkien dialect. Since then, HSL has progressed to become a leader in this niche field.

It now undertakes mass land reclamation for industrial estates, townships and other infrastructure projects. Sarawak’s swampy terrain means reclamation is an essential precursor to most construction activity.

The Mark III, HSL’s fully computerised hydraulic cutter suction dredger in action.

HSL has extensive experience in dredging as well as a comprehensive marine engineering equipment fleet. It has invested in specialised suction dredgers, including a fully computerised hydraulic cutter suction dredger, the Mark III, pictured above. Obtained for RM28 million, the vessel has served the company for over three decades, and is still going strong.

The company remains the only contractor in Sarawak to own such equipment, giving it the advantage of faster, more efficient sand extraction, haulage and filling than its competitors. It also has a fleet of tug boats and steel barges mounted with clam-shell bucket cranes to perform sand extraction. Water-related infrastructure projects which draw on HSL’s marine engineering skills are an area in which it excels.

These can range from mini-dams and weirs to flood mitigation and sea wall protection. Rural water supply, water intake and processing facilities as well as centralised sewage systems are areas of ongoing growth for the Group.


The Group’s decades-long experience in the field contributes to its ongoing success in its projects across the board, including the Kuching centralised sewerage project and Pan-Borneo Highway project, the latter of which includes the construction of several bridges.

HSL continues to be active in projects that draw on its competitive edge in marine engineering, which includes a flow of infrastructure demands from the SCORE initiative and from power generation needs, along with undertaking weir and port construction, flood mitigation, sewerage/ tunnelling works and various water-reticulation and shore protection activities.

Rural water treatment and supply is an area of great potential for HSL and also a rewarding field given that a safe, reliable water supply has a positive impact on raising the living standard and protecting the health of fellow Sarawakians while encouraging commerce and industry.

In this vein, the Samalaju Water Treatment Plant, which has a maximum capacity of five million litres of water per day, was established to provide a reliable, efficient water supply network for the various industries located in Samalaju Industrial Park and other surrounding areas in Bintulu.

HSL oversaw the entirety of the construction process, including the pump and chemical houses, aerators, flocculation and sedimentation tanks, along with filtration process facilities – leveraging on its marine engineering skills and technical capabilities. The project, which cost RM90.28 million, was completed in April of 2013 and now supplies treated, clean water to the entire industrial area.



The Kumpulan Nishimatsu-Hock Seng Lee Consortium introduced modern waste water management to Sarawak. HSL led the complicated endeavour, which included tunnelling a 64.5km long underground trunk line. The tunnels formed a network underneath the city centre and reached below the riverbed of Sungai Sarawak.

Construction began in late 2008, and by 2011, HSL achieved a milestone: a 280m long portion became Malaysia’s longest under river tunnel. For that, the company entered the Malaysian Book of Records, a feat which still stands.

Newspaper reports back then noted HSL’s usage of precision laser-guided tunnel boring machines to complete the arduous 280m journey. During the tunnelling process, the cutter head had to be changed three times.

Engineering wonders aside, the project is one of the most significant environmental preservation projects ever undertaken in Sarawak.

To recap, Kuching produces 175 million litres of wastewater every day. Of the total, 80% of which is “grey” water, while 20% is “black”. Examples of grey water are waste like soaps, chemicals, food waste and so on. Black is what is stored in septic tanks.

Before the centralised treatment plant, wastewater was discharged into drains and waterways, causing heavy pollution to Sungai Sarawak.

Package One of the project covered a population equivalent of 60,000 people, focusing on Kuching’s urban centre.

With the expertise HSL has gained, the company is now spearheading Package Two, and is also heading the similar centralised water water treatment project in Miri.

The impressive Samalaju Raw Water Intake facility is even more fascinating to behold from the air. Constructed at a cost of RM51.9 million and successfully completed in 2015, the facility takes in raw water from Sungai Samalaju to feed it to the Samalaju Water Treatment Plant, where it is processed.

HSL entered into an agreement with Kemena Holdings Bhd to implement the project, with its scope of works covering piling, earthworks, drainage, raw water intake facilities and related piping, mechanical and electrical works.

With a stunning capacity of 80 million-litre-per-day (MLD), the comprehensive list of facilities at the plant include a pump house, two raw water distribution chambers, four pre-sedimentation tanks. riverbank embankment protection, a skid tank, a 7.2km long 1200mm ND Mild Steel Cement Lining pumping main and other related infrastructure.

Located at a bend of the Rajang River, just 30km from its mouth, the Tanjung Manis Deep Sea Fishing Port was completed in 2007 and is one of the most modern and technologically advanced fishing ports in the region. Modeled after its counterpart in Skagen, Denmark, the port cost RM332 million to build and sits on 35.1 hectares of land, with a wharf that spans the length of 600m.

Completed with a highly efficient infrastructure designed to land, store, process, and market the catch of the numerous vessels docking there, the natural deep anchorage port also has a 11m long access draft channel that contributes to the 19,000 tonnes of fish landed at the port in 2016.

A symbol of HSL’s ongoing involvement in port projects, the building of the port required the extensive expertise of HSL’s marine and civil engineering divisions and now stands proud in the company’s annals as one of its most successful.

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