THE cargo arm of Malaysia Airlines has introduced a three-letter code for seven seaports around the country to enhance efficiency in the movement of the goods.
The ports involved in the procedure are Kuching, Kuantan, Penang, the Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP), Bintulu, Kota Kinabalu and Pasir Gudang, which began last month.
We just received confirmation last week that the seven ports will be part of the sea-air link programme, said Malaysia Airlines senior general manager (cargo) Ong Jyh Jong.
The three-letter code, which displays the abbreviated port of destination on e-way bills, is recognised by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as a point of origin. Currently, it is only implemented in Port Klang under the abbreviated name of XPQ.
With the confirmation, the seven ports will join Port Klang as a known destination for forwarders in the air and shipping industries.
Even though we have been given the approval for the three-letter code for the ports, we will be taking it one step at a time.
I think it is important that we establish Port Klang properly as the point of origin for the sea-air link programme in Malaysia before we focus our concentration on other ports.
There is no point in rushing ourselves with the other ports when Port Klang, our main port in Malaysia, is in a shambles.
However, we would like to have Kuantan Port as our next point of origin in the sea-air link programme and we hope to get this done by the end of the year, said Ong, after presenting certificates to 37 volunteers who participated in the safety and rescue training at KLIA last week.
He said that MASkargo is interested to collaborate with Kuantan Port because it would increase the awareness of the sea-air link programme to countries outside the Asean region.
Kuantan Port is well-known for being a chemical hub in the region. If they were to be a point of destination, it will open up many possibilities for the country. Malaysia may well be the point of origin for all sea-air links in Asean, said Ong.
He also said that once the East -West highway that links Kuala Lumpur with Kuantan is completed at the end of the year, travelling time would improve significantly.
Travelling time from Kuala Lumpur to Kuantan takes about six hours now. I believe the new highway will cut travelling time by at least half, which means that the turnaround time between cargoes arriving in Kuantan Port and departing from KLIA will decrease, he said.
Ong said that while neither Northport nor MASkargo have come to a conclusion in regards to China being a point of origin in the sea-air link programme, MASkargo have been actively promoting the programme in India.
Following a positive response during our trip in Indonesia, we staged a road show in South India at the end of January.
The early indications there have been encouraging. The Port of Chennai, which has a lot of potential, has expressed their interest in being a point of origin in the sea-air link programme.
If they were to use the sea-air link programme, they will cut their travel time by 21 days for a voyage from Chennai to Los Angeles, which is significant for an industry that wants to move faster, said Ong.