STORIES BY YAP LENG KUEN, K.P. LEE, JAGDEV SINGH SIDHU, HANIM ADNAN, LEE KAR YEAN, PAULINE S.C. NG, HONG BOON HOW, KATHY FONG, DALJIT DHESI, P.W. THONG, YVONNE CHONG, DAVID TAN, DANNY YAP, ELAINE ANG AND YAP LIH HUEY
THE Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) has projected a 30% increase in throughput this year despite the global economic uncertainties brought about by the US-led war against Iraq yesterday.
According to PTP chief executive officer Mohd Sidik Shaik Osman, the true impact of the war on the company would only depend on how long the Iraqi war lasted.
“But as I see it, the war does not have any negative impact on us. Some shipping lines have discussed with us about bringing in empty containers to store at the port. At the moment, because of that, it is positive for us,” he said when asked to comment on the impact of the Iraqi war on the company.
However, Mohd Sidik said that if the war was to last for a long period, the global economy would be affected as imports and exports would fall, and this would affect the company.
“At the moment, however, we have a business plan which projects a 30% increase in throughput this year,” he said.
Meanwhile, Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) said it expected to apply to the government to increase its cargo handling charges by 15% to 30%.
Managing director Datuk Ahmad Ibnihajar said fuel charges had increased over the past three months to US$40 a barrel from US$30.
“At US$30 per barrel, we are already very hard pressed to run our daily operations. We have already made our dilemma known to the Transport Ministry, which is sympathetic to our situation. There is a need to increase our cargo handling charges by between 15% and 20%. We expect the ministry to give us the green light to submit our application to increase our charges now that the US has attacked Iraq.
“A prolonged war in the Middle East is expected to increase the price of oil per barrel by three times,” he said.
Ahmad said PPSB had not increased its cargo handling charges for the past 20 years.
“PPSB is among the cheapest port in the country and region. Even if we increase our cargo handling charges, we will still be competitive, compared with other ports,” he said.
Ahmad said a prolonged war would affect the export of goods to the US and increase the price of imports.
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