Thursday, April 22, 2010

Northport sees 26pc Q1 container growth

NORTHPORT (Malaysia) Bhd, the country's largest multi-purpose port operator, has posted a 26 per cent growth in the volume of containers handled in the first three months this year.

Containers handled rose to 779,867 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) for the first three months compared with 620,633 TEUs in the same period last year.

The increase in the volume of containers handled was one of the strongest in recent years and exceeded all expectations considering that the container traffic fell marginally by two per cent last year on account of the global economic slowdown, Northport said in a statement today.

Based on the demand-side developments, cargo volumes at Northport could increase between 10 and 15 per cent in 2010 compared with the volume of containers handled in 2009, said managing director Datuk Basheer Hassan Abdul Kader.

The port recorded strong revival in trade as the handling of export and import containers rose impressively, suggesting robust recovery of the national economy after it contracted by 1.9 per cent last year.

In line with the improving economic and trading environment and boosted by the growth of the country''s manufacturing sector, container exports via Northport rose by 25 per cent to 223,450 TEUs while imports rose by 21 per cent totalling 231,450 TEUs during the January-March period this year.

"It was particularly gratifying to note that we recorded very high growth in the volume of transshipment containers, which rose by a substantial 30 per from 250,782 TEUs to 324,899 TEUs, reflecting a strong resurgence in the growth of regional economies," said Basheer.

He said while Northport has been largely a major sea outlet handling the national trade and its growth largely reflecting the intensity of the economic activities in the immediate catchment areas, the surge in transshipment volume was noteworthy as it served to strengthen the confidence of global shipping lines.

"We are handling more than 120 shipping lines, including a good spread of feeder network linking Northport with more than 250 ports worldwide and this has added the attraction of Northport as a transshipment hub to shipping lines," he said.

Basheer said the increase in transshipment was a positive reflection on the port's high level of service to discerning global shipping lines to win more transshipment, notwithstanding the fact that transshipment traffic has become very competitive in the regional as well as the national port systems.

"We offer a very competitive level of service based on high productivity, consistency and efficiency because we are very focused on optimising on asset utilisation which gives us the edge and the shipping lines good value for money," he said.

"We are confident that the growth in container volumes at Northport will be sustained especially on account of the positive prognosis and forecast on the performance of the Malaysian economy and also based on recent trends in the recovery of the shipping markets," he added.

No comments: