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  5th August 2008 - NST

Fee issue between shippers, depot operators

THE International Shipowners' Association of Malaysia (ISOA) has clarified that the container depot operators' move to impose a RM5 fee for every empty container that is returned to or taken from their depots in Penang, Port Klang and Pasir Gudang, is a matter entirely between the depot operators and the shippers.

It was responding to yesterday's report by Business Times quoting Malaysian Container Depot Association (MCDA) president Kamsol Warjan that it has received protests from shippers and shipping lines, who were represented by the Selangor Freight Forwarders and Logistics Association, the Central Region Shipping Association, the Malaysian National Shippers' Council (MNSC), the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) and ISOA with regards to its move.

In a public notice dated July 28 2008, MCDA said a Depot Gate Charge (DGC) will be levied on shippers for their usage of the depot facilities from August 1 2008.

"Whether they (depot operators) have a legal position to charge the DGC is arguable. Firstly, the DGC is a gate transit charge as the merchant's trucks are transitting into their facility similar to what the airport is charging in the form of airport tax for airline passengers transitting and using the airport facilities," said ISOA chairman Ooi Lean Hin in a statement yesterday.

This is also similar to Penang Port charging a general charge of RM1.40 per revenue tonne to the merchant for cargo transitting in and out of the port.

"Clearly in both these examples, the airport and the Penang Port have no contract with the passenger or merchant but they both seem to have the legal basis to raise a charge to both these parties.

"Therefore, the basis for the DGC here is for maintaining the facility for the merchant's trucks to transit in and out," he added.

Ooi said secondly, the DGC is to cover for operational costs beyond the depot operators' contractual hours, which are basically the night hours which require both manpower and lighting costs.


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