move on container storage
WESTPORTS Malaysia Sdn Bhd supports
the decision by the Port Klang Authority (PKA) to postpone the
implementation of the three-day free storage period for containers
at Port Klang to Jan 1 next year.
The new ruling to reduce free
container storage period to three days from the current five days
was supposed to take effect last Tuesday (July 1). However, the
industry was concerned whether it was ready to clear the goods
within the new stipulated timeframe.
The maritime industry that also
includes the Customs and other government agencies which are
involved in the process of clearing, inspection and approving
containerised goods, will have six months to improve their standard
operating procedures in meeting with the deadline.
Westports executive chairman Tan
Sri G. Gnanalingam said it was a good decision by PKA to give those
who are not ready a final chance to improve.
“The reduction of the free storage
period for containers at the ports has been postponed several times
since 2005 and now, it is good to know that PKA has confirmed it
will work closely with the relevant authorities to prepare them for
the new ruling,” he told StarBiz.
He said the rationale to reduce the
free container storage period to three days was in line with the
just-in-time principle thatbecome a standard industry practice
“Shippers and importers that are
concerned with inventory cost should not keep or leave boxes for
more than three days.
“This policy will benefit the port
in terms of space and efficiency in finding boxes in the large
container yard,” he said.
He added that the maritime industry
in Port Klang had improved by leaps and bounds over the years to
eventually reach the targeted three-day free storage period.
“Previously, freight forwarders
could not bring cargo over the weekend but the customs now accepts
necessary pre-payments based on the estimated time ofarrival and not
the actual time of arrival of vessels.
“This gives everybody the
opportunity to clear the documents and make payments before the
“Import and export of goods do not
take place within a week and are known to shippers months ahead,” he
Gnanalingam said shipping lines
were also concerned with the turnaround of both vessel and
“A container, which previously cost
about US$1,200, now costs US$3,000.
“Therefore, shipping lines do not
want the containers to stay in the port for too long.
“Malaysian shippers are known to
hold their boxes at factories for up to 10 to 15 days.
“The shipping lines find that the
turnaround of container is much faster in other countries compared
to Malaysia,” he said.
He added Singapore had a two-day
practice, Yantian Port in China practised less than a day and some
European ports only allowed a few hours of free storage period.
On whether the port would gain
extra storage fee income from the reduction in free storage period,
Gnanalingam stressed that the move was not a profit-making measure.
“If 95% of the cargo leaves the
port within three days, then we are dealing only with 5% of cargo
“The delay caused by the minority
is usually due to incomplete documents, failure to forward the
documents to the relevant authorities or lack of funds,” he said.