MASKARGO, the transportation arm of Malaysia Airline (MAS), is projecting a growth of 19% in revenue for the year ending March 2004, said its senior general manager (cargo) J. J. Ong.
Judging from our April figures, we seem to be on track to achieve this, Ong told a press briefing before the launch of MASkargo's I-Port Transhipment in Petaling Jaya by Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ling Liong Sik yesterday.
Ong said the airline remained optimistic although business had been affected by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak.
He said MASkargo had to look for other options since other airlines that carried cargo for it had cut back on their flights to certain destinations.
The options include buying space from other airlines, possibly through joint-ventures, as well as leasing aircraft for the short-term, he added.
In spite of the SARS outbreak, the freighter market has still been relatively good and we are targeting to move 600,000 tonnes of freight this year, Ong said.
Ong said MASkargo's I-Port Transhipment was virtually the world's first airport within a seaport.
He said it would enable seamless movement of cargo from regional destinations to Malaysian ports by sea, and then onward to international destinations through MASkargo's advanced cargo centre (ACC) at the KL International Airport (KLIA).
He added that the opening of I-Port, in addition to the transhipment services, also served as a branding exercise for MASkargo.
At present, I-Port involved two ports - Northport in Port Klang since last December and the Port of Tanjung Pelepas in Johor since Monday.
Ong said shippers using I-Port Transhipment services could also expect savings of as much as 40% along with faster Customs processing through the removal of Form K8 - replaced with simplified documentation - and the use of MASkargo's ACC at the KLIA.
MASkargo had also set up offices at both ports.
This allows each port to be accorded three letter codes by the International Air Transport Association, in line with the airport operation within a seaport concept, he said.
Ong added that this concept would eventually be extended to all of Malaysia's ports in Kuantan, Kuching, Penang, Pasir Gudang, Bintulu and Kota Kinabalu.
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