LABUAN: Nine containers laden with sugar have been stranded at Labuan containerised port of Labuan Liberty Wharf for the past one week.

The essential item weighing a total of 142.56 tonnes in the 10x20 footer containers were imported from Peninsula to cater for local needs.

Labuan Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry director Junaidah Arbain said the sugar were imported by three wholesalers namely Sazarice Wholesaler Sdn Bhd with 71.28 tonnes; Chuan Huat Trading Co Sdn Bhd with 47.52 tonnes and Kelasmahir Sdn Bhd with 23.76 tonnes.

"I have contacted the wholesalers and I was made to understand there had been unresolved issues between the wholesalers and their appointed agents to do clearance with the port operator.

"We hope they are able to resolve the issues as soon as possible so that we can resolve the shortage of sugar supply on this island," she said to Bernama today.

Junaidah said the longer they (wholesalers) let the sugar stranded at the port, the more charges they would have to bear.

She said Labuan had been facing a shortage of sugar supply since late last year with all supermarkets and hypermarkets having to put a purchase limit of one packet of sugar per customer.

"There were times these supermarkets and hypermarkets are running out of stocks," she said.

Junaidah said the ministry had approved nine wholesalers here to import sugar from two main suppliers in the peninsula, namely the Central Sugars Refinery (CSR) Shah Alam, Selangor, and the Malayan Sugar Refinery (MSM) Perlis and Johor.

Junaidah said Labuan needed at least 120 tonnes of sugar every month for its estimated 110,000 population.