Its analyst Ahmad Maghfur Usman told StarBiz that in general, major container ports in the country had experienced only 10% to 15% decline in volumes so far this year.
Northport (M) Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary of NCB Holdings Bhd, recorded a 13.9% decrease year-on-year in container volume to about 1.3 million 20ft equivalent units (TEUs) in the first six months of 2009.
“Moving forward, the current slump in the port sector in the country might have bottomed out looking at the current situation.
“But do not expect any sharp increase in the container throughput going forward,” he said, adding that airfreight was expected to recover ahead of sea cargo due to urgent shipments when the economy picked up.
At Port Klang, the country’s maritime gateway, container volume in the first quarter saw a double-digit decline year-on-year.
Checks with players dealing with the port, however, revealed that volume has been rising slowly since the middle of the second quarter this year.
OSK said Northport, one of two ports located in the national load centre in Port Klang, was unlikely to witness a severe fall in container throughput volume as it would be cushioned by indigenous cargo trade as well as its relatively smaller exposure to transhipment containers.
Ahmad Maghfur said although transhipment cargo was expected to pull down most ports’ volumes compared to import and export cargo, that would not be the case for the Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP), a 70%-owned subsidiary of MMC Corporation Bhd and a major transhipment terminal in Malaysia.
PTP recorded about a 3% increase in container volume to 1.9 million TEUs in the first half this year compared with a year earlier, OSK said. The port was confident of recording 6.1 million TEUs for the whole of 2009 versus 5.6 million TEUs last year, it added.