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Malaysian ports ranked among world’s most efficient during pandemic, says transport minister

A general view of Port Klang October 8, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 — Malaysia is still holding its own in terms of efficiency rankings in port performance even during the pandemic, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong said.

He said Port Klang has been recognised as having the most efficient operations among 22 of the world’s biggest and most prominent ports worldwide, handling an average of 131 ships weekly and taking just 1.7 days to service each vessel compared with 1.3 days from 2017 to 2019 before the pandemic occurred.

“This is quicker than our regional competitors at a time when 77 per cent of ports, according to a Bloomberg report, were experiencing abnormally long times of turnaround,” he said in a facebook posting.

Wee was commenting on a report by Bloomberg which quoted global investment bank RBC Capital Markets’ study on global port container discharge times and congestion.

He said just like many other countries, Malaysia has not been spared by the impact of Covid-19 on supply chains worldwide.

The transport minister said several port clearing exercises were implemented in 2020 and 2021 to prevent congestion in Malaysian ports nationwide, especially Port Klang, Port of Tanjung Pelepas, Johor Port, and Penang Port.

Wee said during the movement control orders when restrictions were imposed on vehicle movement throughout the country, it was crucial for the Transport Ministry to work with the ports and other related agencies to make sure that goods, essential and even non-essential were able to move and get to households and businesses.

“Even our efforts sometimes meant that vessels had longer than usual turnaround times to unload their holds, and containers and cargo were piling up in the container yards and warehouses.

“At one point, Port Klang’s utilisation reached about 88 per cent of its total capacity,” he said.

The minister said on Sept 12, he announced that all loading and unloading activities for import and export purposes were allowed to operate 24 hours a day throughout the week, including for non-essential items, with strict compliance to the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

He said the measures had done much to reduce the port congestion throughout the country.

“I would like to thank the Port Klang Authority for working closely and effectively with Westport, Northport and the Marine Department of Malaysia alongside the ministry to ensure that we are able to achieve this result even during the movement control orders.

“I will continue to monitor the situation closely so that we can continue this excellent performance,” he said. — Bernama

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