Johor Port (also spelled Johore) is in the city of Pasir Gudang in southern Malaysia, separated from Singapore by the 1.2 kilometer wide Johor Strait. An historic trade center for exports of products based on the area’s natural resources, modern Johor Port and Pasir Gudang are home to a busy textile industry and nearby bauxite mines. Johor Port is so near Singapore that it is basically a suburb. Pasir Gudang is basically Chinese, but the language is the standard Malay dialect. In 2000, over 384 thousand people lived in the city, and more than 630 thousand lived in the metropolitan area.
Johor Port is the first port in Malaysia located in a free trade zone. Its warehouses are exempt from customs duties, and duties are paid only when cargo is released from the port for local consumption. Johor Port Authority built the port in 1977 as a multi-purpose port to handle all kinds of cargo.
Temenggong Ibrahim, ruler of Jahore, founded Tanjung Putri 29 kilometers west of Jahore Lama in the early 19th Century. It was renamed Jahore Bahru in 1866, replacing the Jahore Lama.
Pasir Gudang is the industrial city that houses Johor Port. The modern city was founded in 1918, but it was known before that as Kampung Pasir Udang. The population grew quickly, establishing new villages around Pasir Gudang. By 1920, Pasir Gudang consisted of the original town and eight new villages. The villages of Kampung Air Biru and Kampung Pasir Merah are now the Johor Port.
In the mid-1800s, Chinese merchants received a “river deed” from the Sultan of Johore to develop the area. They cultivated black pepper and catechu on the riverbeds, but falling prices forced some to move to pineapple cultivation.
In the early 20th Century when rubber was introduced to Malaysia, British and Singaporeans began to establish plantations that covered over six thousand hectares by 1916. Pasir Gudang then became a center for police, customs services, and control of opium. Laborers from India and China began to settle in the town as well.
Although the area was occupied by Japan during the Second World War, agricultural activities continued fairly normally. In the 1950s, new villages were created at Pasir Gudang, and many plantation workers were moved to the new villages.
Johor Port was established in 1977, largely as a reaction to the huge volumes of traffic being handled in the nearby Port of Singapore.