Malaysia’s top ports will increase capacity to support trade growth

Port Klang and Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) will be investing in their infrastructure to increase handling capacity in line with trade growth.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ir. Dr. Wee Ka Siong said Port Klang will increase handling capacity by 60 percent to 32 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) annually by 2040 while the Port of Tanjung Pelepas will have current capacity increased by 3.5 million TEUs by 2025. 

Wee said this is to support the growth recorded by Malaysian ports, which registered an average trade growth of three percent in compounded cargo throughput over the last 10 years.

Wee made the announcement in his keynote address at the 19th ASEAN Ports and Shipping Exhibition and Conference on March 1, in Kuala Lumpur.  According to him, the rest of Malaysia’s ports also have to invest in new expansions and technologies to meet the rise of online commerce in Malaysia, which has been fueled by changing consumer shopping habits and spending patterns. 

He also said that under the National Transport Policy 2019 to 2030, the government will play a stronger facilitating role to create a conducive, intelligent and safe ecosystem for the transport industry to thrive.  The government will also ensure a seamless movement of goods to boost trading activities while gradually reducing carbon footprints. 

He underscored the excellent performance of Malaysian ports, as exemplified by Westports and Northport in Port Klang and PTP, in shoring up the Malaysian economy in spite of Covid-19’s multi-year supply chain disruptions.

Port Klang handled a record-breaking container volume of 13.74 million TEUs in 2021, surpassing its 2019 record of 13.58 million TEUs. Port Klang has managed this achievement despite the many challenges of the pandemic as well as the spillover effects of container shortages, port congestions and most recently, adverse weather conditions.

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s largest container terminal, PTP, registered a total volume of 11.2 million TEUs at the end of 2021, representing an increase of 14 percent growth in its yearly volume as compared to 9.8 million TEUs in 2020. With the increase in demand from customers and growth prospect, PTP’s primary focus is to optimize terminal footprint up to 15 million TEUs in the coming years. 

Wee said: “I want the participants of this timely conference, comprising local and foreign logistics players and operators, to push this encouraging momentum by analyzing the trends, risks, and how to obtain returns in maritime developments. 

“Pay close attention to strengthening financial resilience, sustainable or green initiatives, and look at the larger horizon in terms of investment strategies to build up our ports and logistics industries. 

“It is difficult to overstate the importance of the Malaysian maritime industry. It contributes about 40 percent to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and more than 90 percent of Malaysia’s trade is seaborne, given our central position on the vital Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea.”

According to Wee, the government has taken note of the risks of climate change and has introduced many green initiatives for the various sectors of the economy, including the maritime sector.

Malaysia as a Flag State, Port State and Coastal State has ratified 26 of the 58 International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s conventions to ensure safe and secure shipping with protection of the marine environment being a major priority.

Under the 12th Malaysia Plan, Wee said the government wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity of GDP by 45 percent by 2030 (greenhouse gas intensity is the ratio of a country’s emissions to the economic value it generates). 

Malaysia also participates in IMO’s GreenVoyage2050 Project to help developing countries meet their commitments in achieving climate and energy efficiency goals by bringing about radical changes to shipping operations and ship engine designs for energy efficiency.

The 19th ASEAN Ports and Shipping Exhibition and Conference is the first major onsite international event for the maritime industry since the lifting of nationwide Movement Control Order. 

Photo credit: iStock/ Muhamad Asyraf Mohd Rasid.  Westport in Port Klang.

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