Monday, January 18, 2010

No impact yet of cabotage policy change on cargo shipment business

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry has yet to see the impact of the partial liberalisation of the Cabotage Policy on the cargo shipment business in Sabah and Sarawak.

Its Deputy Minister, Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan, said the government needed more time to evaluate the impact as the partial liberalisation was only introduced last May.

"The ministry is monitoring interests among foreign shipping companies to go directly to the designated ports in the two states.

"The growth in volume of exports will also be monitored to assess the impact of the policy change," he told a media briefing after officiating at a seminar on "Trade Liberalisation and Government Assistance" here on Monday.

Sagan said the Cabotage Policy change was among the measures taken by the government to reduce freight costs of goods coming to and from the two states.

He said the partial liberalisation allowed foreign vessels to carry containerised transhipment cargo directly to Sabah and Sarawak without a need for a domestic shipping licence.

"It involves the cargo movements between the ports of Sepanggar in Sabah, Bintulu and Kuching (Sarawak) with the ports of Klang and Tanjung Pelepas and vice versa," he said.

Meanwhile, Sagan said he wanted more importers and exporters in the two states to join the Malaysian National Shippers Council, which had been vocal in calling for the review of the policy.

He said currently there were 25 organisations in the council with only one from Sabah and none from Sarawak.

"We want more shipping companies, or through their business associations, to join the council so that their voices can be heard to provide inputs to the government in formulating policies," he said.

Source: StarBiz

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