Press Statement By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 25.7.2010:
The Penang state government urges Transport Minister to intervene and appoint expert advisors to PPC and PPSB to resolve the issue of congestion of container cargo at NBCT. This serious congestion issue was exposed when R. Amaiappan the Chair of the Northern Regions of the Association of Malaysian Hauliers (AMH) made a public statement advising its customers in the northern region to send their export container cargo to Port Klang.
This is a classic case of turning away business. The call to avoid Penang Port but use Port Klang instead is a slap in the face of PPC’s role in regulating Penang Port and would adversely impact Penang Port’s development as a premier port. Further it would also have serious negative implications on the economy as well as threaten Penang’s position as a logistics hub. Amaiappan said that although on July 1, 2010, there was an instruction from PPSB chairman Datuk Dr Hilmi Yahaya to the NBCT to open up the window frame for delivering container cargo to five days, the order was not implemented but instead forced to deliver within the impossible time frame of one and half days.
Amaiappan told the StarBiz on 24 July 2010 that,
“Since the PPSB could not open up a five-day window frame in accordance with the guidelines for all the ports in the country, and it is not possible for us to deliver within the shorter window frame, we will tell our customers to ship from Port Klang instead. This is to help ease off the congestion at the NBCT container yard, which is over 85% stacked with container cargo most of the time”.
20 container haulage companies in the northern region was reported as losing about RM18mil a month in “opportunity losses” because of the shorter window frame to deliver container cargo for export. By being unable to comply with standard operating guidelines of other ports in the country, the professionalism and efficiency of Penang ports operations is being questioned.
Penang can not progress into a high-income economy if our communications and logistics hub are not up to standards. Expert assistance from outside should be sought if PPC and PPSB are unable to resolve the container cargo congestion problems swiftly.
Too much money has been invested and our put at risk to continue to ignore the problem. Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong should call on experts such as former PPC Chair Datuk Syed Aidid Murtaza, who had helped to increase annual profits from RM 5 million to RM 40 million of PPC during his tenure, to find ways to resolve the congestion problem.