Monday, October 19, 2009

Low demand hurting container haulage firms

The outlook for container haulage services is expected to be bearish in the current quarter.

Association of Malaysian Hauliers (AMH) president Datuk Ahmad Shalimin Shaffie said the demand for haulage services was down by 30% in the first quarter year-on-year but picked up in the second and third quarters.

“Nevertheless, it slowed down at the end of the third quarter and we are hopeful it would be better in the current quarter though we are not that bullish,” he told StarBiz.

Datuk Ahmad Shalimin Shaffi e ... ‘We are hopeful the demand would be better in the current quarter though we are not that bullish.’

He said there was a small percentage of companies that had to cease operations due to the drop in demand but, overall, the industry was still “surviving”.

Ahmad Shalimin said the fall in demand due to the global economic downturn had also added an overcapacity problem to the local haulage industry.

“Thus, we reiterate our stand that haulage licences should only be given to genuine operators as some companies rent out their licences,” he said.

Ahmad Shalimin also said the association was hopeful that the Road Transport Department would revise road haulage weight limitation regulations.

The current regulations on load limitation for road haulage are 30 years old while trucks have evolved to bear heavier cargo.

“It has been more than a year since we requested the revision and we hope to see the outcome soon,” he said.

The AMH, which represents some 70 members, controls 80% of the local haulage market. Its members include major hauliers such as Konsortium Logistik Bhd and Kontena Nasional Bhd (a subsidiary of NCB Holdings Bhd).

Haulage operator Taipanco Sdn Bhd executive director Nazari Akhbar said it would be quite difficult to forecast future demand as it had been erratic so far this year.

“We expect to record lesser volume this year against last year,” he said.

For three cumulative quarters so far this year, Taipanco transported 1,571,315 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) while the company handled a total of 2,417,594 TEUs last year.

The fall in demand due to the global economic downturn has added an overcapacity problem to the local haulage industry

In the current quarter, Nazari expected import volume to pick up but not exports. Taipanco currently owns 130 prime movers.

On the brighter side, Volvo Malaysia Sdn Bhd managing director Eric Leblanc said although the year started rather slowly, business was now beginning to move.

“Truck utilisation is improving and we see increasing activities at our service centres. The overall market is definitely improving with increasing orders,” he said.

Leblanc said that in Malaysia, Volvo was the leader in the prime mover segment with 23% market share.

Source: StarBiz

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