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  9th April 2012 - STAR MARITIME

7.3% rise in Penang Port cargo

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) handled 298,552 twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) of container cargo at the North Butterworth Container Terminal (NBCT) for the first quarter of this year. This represents an increase of 7.3% over the previous corresponding period. The target set was for a 4% increase.

Penang Port chief operating officer Obaid Mansor told StarBiz that for the month of March alone, there was a 17% jump in total container cargo handled to 119,495 TEUs compared with 101,379 TEUs in the same period last year.

“We achieved a 17% jump because of our short-term business strategy. This involves targeting local and international shipping companies affected by the global economic crisis to increase usage of our storage facilities for non-operational container cargo at NBCT,” Obaid said, adding that very attractive leasing rates were provided.

As a result of the slower growth in world trade, the number of export container cargo has shrunk. For the first quarter of this year, the ratio between export container cargo and imported cargo handled was 51:49 at NBCT. This compares with a ratio of 55:45 for the whole of last year.

“PPSB is targeting the total container cargo handled at NBCT to hit 1.278 million TEUs this year, an increase of about 7.4% from last year,” he said.

“About 75% of the cargo handled at NBCT is full container load, which is expected to generate 70% of Penang Port’s revenue for this year.”

On the implementation of new port tariffs, Obaid said the review was now being studied by Penang Port Commission (PPC) and the Penang Port Consultative Committee.

“We will meet with them soon to make a presentation on the need to raise charges,” Obaid said.

The tariffs were last revised in 2003 and implemented in 2007.

As a result of the revision, there was a 30% hike in handling charges for container cargo. The rate for a 20-ft container today is RM182 and RM273 for a 40-ft container.Obaid said the new tariffs would enable Penang Port to continue providing competitive pricing and quality services, and help improve its position as one of the top 100 container ports in the world.

“The tariff review will be timely due to higher oil prices and other operating costs which are eroding Penang Port’s profit margins,” he said.

Both Port Klang and Johor Port have also submitted their proposals to the Transport Ministry to raise tariffs.


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