Saturday, July 24, 2010

Penang congestion: Send cargo to Port Klang

The Association of Malaysian Hauliers (AMH) is advising its customers in the northern region to send their export container cargo to Port Klang.

AMH (northern region) chairman R. Amaiappan told StarBizWeek that this would be only a temporary measure until PPSB could resolve the congestion of container cargo issue at the North Butterworth Container Terminal (NBCT).

“Although on July 1, 2010, there was an instruction from Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) chairman Datuk Dr Hilmi Yahaya to the NBCT to open up the window frame for delivering container cargo to five days, the order was not implemented.

“We still have to deliver export containers within the one and half day window frame.

“Since the PPSB could not open up a five-day window frame in accordance with the guidelines for all the ports in the country, and it is not possible for us to deliver within the shorter window frame, we will tell our customers to ship from Port Klang instead.

“This is to help ease off the congestion at the NBCT container yard, which is over 85% stacked with container cargo most of the time,” he said.

Last month, StarBiz reported that 20 container haulage companies in the northern region were losing about RM18mil a month in “opportunity losses” because of the shorter window frame to deliver container cargo for export.

This happened about two months ago, PPSB reduced the five-day window frame for haulage companies to deliver their export container cargo to one-and-a half to two days.

“If PPSB cannot resolve the congestion problem at the NBCT container yard soon, there will be more goods waiting to be shipped out, worsening the problem at hand, as the Ramadan holiday season is approaching.

“So if we don’t make use of Port Klang now, container cargo will not reach their destinations on time,” he said.

PPSB general manager (container) Obaid Mansor said the matter had to do with the physical constraint of the container yard at NBCT.

“This has nothing to do with orders. For the past one month, vessels have been coming in late to ship out cargo at the NBCT container yard, resulting in space constraint.

“If vessels can come on time to ship out the cargo, then we can open up a five-day window frame,” Obaid said.

Penang Port Commission chairman Tan Cheng Liang said the matter was raised at a Penang Port Consultative Council (PPCC) meeting about two weeks ago.

“We were informed that PPSB top management had given instructions for the NBCT to resume the five-day window frame for cargo delivery.

“Meanwhile PPCC had also formed a committee headed by its general manager to thrash out all the issues of operations,” Tan said.

Penang Importers & Exporters Association (PIEA) secretary Wong Yim Fatt said its members would probably not opt for Port Klang as the trucking charges were high.

“The shorter window frame is giving us exporters a lot of problem, as there is not enough time to ship out our cargo.

“We hope PPSB is able to resolve the problem soon.

“In the meantime, we would like to ask PPSB to give us a waiver for late submission of cargo, which is RM60 per shipment,” he said.

Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM, North) chairman O.K. Lee said FMM was not a party to the decision of AMH to use Port Klang instead of NBCT.

“We will leave it to the members to decide which port they want to use,” Lee said.

When asked for comments, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said PPSB should step in to resolve the problem immediately.

”Instead of attracting business, it is driving business away,” Lim said.

Source: Star Biz

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