storage period still a worry
Is Port Klang ready for the
reduction of free storage period to three days from five days
effective Jan 1?
This was the question that sparked
a lot of heated discussions among various players involved in the
logistics chain at a dialogue and briefing sessions organised by the
Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) last week.
Since the plan was mooted in 2002
during a National Committee on Business Competitiveness meeting, the
deadline has been pushed back several times as the shipping
community in Port Klang was not ready for the shorter free storage
period at Westports and Northport - the two terminal operators in
Free storage period is the window
duration given to importers or exporters to clear or send their
goods to and from the ports without any charges. After that period,
storage fee will be imposed on a daily basis per container.
While the ports are ready and the
Port Klang Authority (PKA) has given the green light to implement
the new free storage period, some quarters of the shipping community
of Port Klang feel that they are not fully prepared due to the
issues related to working hours, online transactions, and document
PKA general manager and chief
executive officer Lim Thean Shiang said that as the new free storage
period had been gazetted, the authority would go ahead with the
“This is to ensure fast clearance
of containers from the ports and maximise space utilisation in
ports’ container yards.
“We will arbitrate any dispute
between the parties involved in the logistics chain,” he said.
PKA has set up a committee that
includes representatives from all the different sectors of the Port
Klang shipping community to come up with the standard operating
procedures for efficient implementation of the shorter free storage
A trial run of the new free storage
period has begun on Nov 1.
Lim also told StarBiz that
PKA would try to resolve the issue of haulage operators that still
needed 48-hour notification for them to pick up containers from the
ports and exporters’ premises.
“We must move to a system where the
calculation of the free storage period is based on hours, not days,”
A representative of the haulage
industry said hauliers still needed 48 hours of advance notification
to efficiently operate as opposed to the proposed 24 hours when the
new ruling took place.
“Physical movement is very
time-sensitive, factoring in the weather, traffic and turnaround of
trailers as well as prime movers.
“For us, a 48-hour notification is
sufficient to operate efficiently,” he said.
According to FMM logistics
committee chairman Radwan Alami, until all parties in the logistics
chain are ready and all document delivery systems are improved to
paperless transactions, the implementation of the shorter free
storage period should be deferred.
“From what I heard today from
various presentations made by parties involved in the movement of
goods at Port Klang, many are still in the midst of getting ready.
The deferment is not to importers’ or exporters’ advantage, but we
do not want to be penalised (with storage charges for extra days)
due to other parties’ inefficiency,” he told StarBiz.
Furthermore, Radwan said, due to
the current economic downturn, manufacturers were cutting down
working hours against hauliers’ suggestion that they work seven days
a week or 24 hours to collect and send containers at any time.
Selangor Freight Forwarders &
Logistics Association president Abel Tan Ah Beng said the trial run
for the shorter free storage period was “promising but not
convincing” as it was conducted during the trade slump.
“Customs and other government
agencies involved in the clearance of goods and duty must also go
paperless to ensure the success of the shorter free storage period,”
Tan added that the reduction of the
free storage period could be successful if all parties involved
delivered as instructed in the standard operating procedures.