MMC Corp Bhd sees lower revenue contribution from its port business in Johor this year due to the drop in cargo volume, said chief executive officer Hasni Harun.
Both its ports in the state, Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) and Johor Port, had been hit by the global recession, he said.
“Ports in the region have been experiencing a decline in volume of between 15% and 20% since the fourth quarter last year.
“There has been a spike in volume last month due to the replenishment of depleted inventories but it is premature to say whether this is sustainable.
“Subject to an improvement in consumer confidence globally, the situation may not lead to a long and deep downturn. It might improve in 2010 and we hope to maintain what we’ve achieved last year,” he told StarBiz.
PTP registered a container throughput of 5.6 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) last year, up 1.8% against 2007.
Johor Port handled 17.2 million freight weight tonnes of bulk and conventional cargo in 2008, representing a growth of 8% year-on-year, and recorded 934,767 TEUs of containers last year, an increase of 1%.
The two ports contributed 14% to MMC group revenue in 2008 compared with 20% in 2007.
Hasni said the decline in percentage of contribution from its ports despite higher revenue was due to the increase in Malakoff Bhd’s revenue contribution, resulting from the 12-month consolidation of Malakoff’s results last year versus only eight months in 2007.
“Based on the current slowdown, we expect the revenue contribution from our ports to also be lower year-on-year,” he said.
On capital expenditure (capex), Hasni said PTP planned to spend RM400mil to RM500mil this year, which is lower than the RM900mil spent last year, in line with the slowdown in business.
“This year’s capex includes for additional equipment at existing berths (berths 9 and 10), which will further increase the port’s operational efficiency, as well as for the ongoing construction of berths 11 and 12.
“We are making prudent decisions on capex and will equip berths 11 and 12 progressively as global shipping trade improves,” he said.
He added that Johor Port also expected to spend a lower amount of capex this year, primarily for maintenance works.
Going forward, Hasni said PTP’s value proposition was in its strategic location, unrivalled potential capacity growth, connectivity and competitive rates.
“These attributes will continue to make PTP an ideal choice for shipping lines, particularly those that are restructuring their routes and collaborating with other lines to minimise costs under the current economic scenario.
“Meanwhile, Johor Port focuses on high-value cargo and commodities in the bulk and break-bulk terminals,” he said.
Besides port operations, MMC has finalised the acquisition of Senai Airport Terminal Services Sdn Bhd (SATS) in Johor for RM1.7bil.
According to Hasni, having interests in ports and an airport allowed the company to achieve better integration between the two modes of transportation.
“PTP is recognised as an ‘airport within a seaport’ and this further enhances the inter-modal movement of cargo from ships to airplanes and vice-versa.
“The acquisition of SATS will expand MMC’s logistics business, in line with its vision to be a global utilities and logistics group,” he said.
SATS is currently undergoing an expansion, including the extension of its runway from 3,354m to 3,800m, which will accommodate fully-loaded long-haul cargo flights.
“An Aero-Mall is also being built, which will add 6,500 sq m, bringing the total outlet space to 8,500 sq m to cater for the growing population residing within easy access of the airport. The mall is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2010.
“The airport also has a cargo capacity of 80,000 tonnes per annum and offers bonded warehouse and warehousing facilities,” he added.
Hasni said SATS’ potential would be realised with the development of Senai Airport City into a regional cargo and logistics hub.
Works on Senai Airport City, with a gross development value of RM10bil, would commence towards the year-end and scheduled for completion by 2020, he said.
Source: Star Online