PLUS plans organic growth


BY PAULINE S.C. NG

PLUS Expressways Bhd – whose wholly-owned subsidiary, Project Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan Bhd (PLUS), is the toll concession owner for the North-South Expressway (NSE) and New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) – is looking for organic growth from within its current concession as well as from outside.  

PLUS is exploring opportunities to offer toll operations and management services, in which it has more than 15 years experience, to other expressway companies, both local and overseas, according to PLUS Expressways chairman Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim. 

Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim

In his annual statement, Mohd Sheriff said the company would continue to grow its business, both financially and operationally, while remaining focused on the business of operating toll roads. 

Looking ahead, he said PLUS was aggressively marketing the use of electronic toll collection (ETC) to increase throughput and improve cost efficiency, and it hoped to achieve 50% ETC penetration at 15 strategic toll plazas that together contribute about 60% of total traffic.  

Last year PLUS, which operates 67 toll plazas and 78 interchanges, succeeded in raising ETC usage to 31% of total traffic from 29.1%. 

Mohd Sheriff said plans were under way to introduce Fleet ETC cards this year to encourage more commercial vehicle operators to make PLUS expressways their preferred choice. Compared with expressways elsewhere in the world, commercial vehicle usage on PLUS expressways are still relatively low. 

Last year, PLUS registered 310.5 million toll transactions, representing an average of 850,548 vehicles plying its expressways daily. In terms of toll receipts, this translated into about RM1.38bil, an increase of 12.5% over the previous year's collection of RM1.22bil. 

Some 88.2% of the traffic volume consisted of passenger cars, and the remaining 11.8% of commercial and other vehicles. Cross-border traffic to Thailand in the north and Singapore in the south accounted for RM22mil or 1.6% of toll receipts last year. 

During the year under review, efforts were focused on promoting the Touch 'n Go and SmartTag products. Over the promotional period of Aug 20-Oct 31, more than 30,000 SmartTag units were sold, translating into a 20% increase in SmartTag lane utilisation. 

PLUS has two interchanges under construction. That at Kota Damansara, located at the 19.75km of the NKVE, is targeted for completion by mid-2003. When completed, the interchange is expected to relieve traffic congestion at the Sungei Buloh and Damansara toll plazas.  

The Pendang interchange, located at the 63.4 km Alor Star-Gurun stretch, will improve access to the NSE, and is expected to serve as a catalyst for economic development within Pendang district. 

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