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UPDATES AND ARTICLES
     
  27th December 2010 - STAR MARITIME
 

PTP sees sustainable growth next year

PETALING JAYA: The Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP), the biggest transshipment port in Malaysia, is projecting healthy and sustainable growth next year, driven by the improving global economy outlook that will spur trade.

PTP deputy chief executive officer Azlan Shahrim said current indications pointed toward healthy growth next year.

“With the continuing growth in world trade, PTP is confident of extending its continuous growth trend,” he told StarBiz.

Azlan said another key driver for growth would be the delivery of new vessels measuring over 10,000 TEUs (20ft equivalent units), which will need ports with deep drafts and modern equipment.

“With a draft of up to 19m and modern cranes with long out-reach, PTP is well positioned to accommodate these large vessels,” he said.

PTP is 70%-owned by MMC Corp Bhd. Azlan said one could expect pressure on port charges as capacity expands.

The expansion of regional ports and the construction of new ones would result in almost 15 million TEUs of overcapacity by 2015, and consequently a more competitive environment for ports in this region, he added.

“The current rising fuel price also poses a great challenge to PTP as unlike shipping rates, port terminal handling rates are fixed over the medium term.

“Direct calls to and from new emerging ports such as Vietnam further pose some competition for regional transshipment volumes,” he said.

To remain competitive, PTP would need to continue offering shipping lines superior service at competitive rates, said Azlan.

“This means improving our existing productivity of 35 moves per hour (compared with the industry average of 25 moves per hour) and looking for innovative ways to achieve more at a lower cost.

“The ability to expand our capacity, now already at a sizeable 8.5 million TEUs, will also enable the port to serve new and existing shipping lines efficiently within a congestion-free environment,” he said.

Azlan also said PTP had the facilities required to accommodate the latest generation vessels that were generally bigger in size.

“Therefore, cargo shipped out of PTP does not need to be fed to another port first to be connected to these bigger long-haul vessels.

“The direct shipping connectivity benefits shippers as it reduces point-to-point transit time and eliminates the risk of missing vessel connections at other transit ports,” he said.

On another note, Azlan said PTP was on target to achieving cargo volume for 2010.

“We expect to close the year with 6.5 million TEUs, as projected, 8% more containers than last year,” he said.

According to industry experts, the transshipment industry is expected to grow between 5% and 10% this year.

In an earlier news report, Azlan was quoted as saying that cargo volume growth for this year would be supported by the expected increase in East-West trade.

Because of PTP’s proximity to the main trade lanes, the port stands to benefit from the expected increase in trade between East and West.

Westbound trade between the Far East and North Europe is expected to rise by 6% this year and Eastbound trade between North Europe and the Far East is expected to grow by 9.7%, according to Azlan.

The port’s volume for the first half of the year stood at 3.2 million TEUs, which is a 13% jump compared with the same period last year.

Based on reports, PTP is expected to build berths 13 and 14 over the next three years. Phase 2 of PTP’s expansion plan, which began in 2005, covers the building of eight additional berths (berths 7 to 14). Six of these new berths have already been completed.

The port currently has 12 berths measuring a total of 4.3km in length with an annual handling capacity of 8.5 million TEUs.

   
 

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