industry players support open policy
PETALING JAYA: While the local
shipowners deem the recently-announced partial relaxation of the
cabotage policy as untimely, some quarters of the local maritime
industry think otherwise.
The Government had partially
liberalise the cabotage policy for containerised transhipment cargo
for the sectors between the Port of Sepangar, Bintulu, Kuching with
Port Klang and the Port of Tanjung Pelepas and vice versa effective
The liberalisation will allow foreign
vessels to carry containerised transhipment cargo within the above
sectors without a need for a domestic shipping licence.
According to a prominent industry
player, the liberalisation was inevitable in the long run, especially
if Malaysia wanted to be more competitive.
“It opens up opportunity for
importers and exporters in Sabah and Sarawak as well as the industries
to enjoy a lower freight cost due to competition in the shipping
transportation sector, which can be translated into cheaper price of
consumer goods and industrial needs.
“Additionally, the move will allow
the two east Malaysian states to lure international shipping lines to
the country,” he said, adding that it would also benefit the ports in
Sabah and Sarawak as well as to the economic development corridors
When international shipping lines can
go directly to Sabah and Sarawak, they can take suitable cargo for the
Far East and the US markets as opposed to coming to Singapore or Port
Klang before they go to the Far East or China.
An industry observer said the
Federation of Sabah Manufactur-ers also recently reiterated the need
to abolish the policy, saying that the move could also pave the way
for the Kota Kinabalu Sepangar container port to become a hub for the
Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines-East Asean Growth Area
“It must be noted that even after the
policy is relaxed and international shipping lines travel to east
Malaysia, they will at most call one or two ports in Sabah or Sarawak.
“However, ports like Sepangar,
Bintulu or even Kuching can vie to become a hub port for the BIMP-EAGA
region and be a getaway for shipment of cargoes to the Far East,” he
In general, he said, there was still
a lot of cargo in Bangladesh, Myanmar and India, which local Malaysian
shipping lines can target.