PETALING JAYA: The Government is still looking for a suitable location to expand Port Klang’s capacity, and both the existing port operators would be given the first right of refusal to develop such a terminal, said a government official familiar with the matter.
The official was responding to a news report by a business daily on Tuesday that had tipped Permodalan Nasional Bhd – a major shareholder of Northport (M) Bhd owner-operator NCB Holdings Bhd – to be a strong contender to bag the contract to develop a third port in Port Klang with a staggering 30 million twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) annual capacity.
“It’s very premature to talk about the awarding of the project now, as the authority responsible, namely, the Port Klang Authority, is still in the midst of surveying for a suitable place to expand Port Klang.
“Furthermore, both Westports Holdings Bhd and NCB Holdings will be given equalopportunity to have the first right of refusal to develop the new terminal.
“Also, Port Klang still has the capacity to absorb extra cargo for the next five years. In fact, the 30-million TEU figure is supposed to be Port Klang’s total target for the next 10 years, and does not come from the new terminal exclusively.
“As of now, both Westports and Northport are still busy with their own organic expansion programme,” he told StarBiz yesterday.
The most probable location for what is slated to be the new container hub of Port Klang is likely to be Pulau Indah, as the mainland area adjacent to Northport is already quite saturated.
Checks with both port operators revealed that they had no knowledge of such a bid to build a third port in Port Klang.
The news of a new terminal in Port Klang first emerged in 2012 when Glenn Marine Group, which owns and operates a cruise terminal in Port Klang, submitted a proposal to the Government to build a cargo port with only a three-million TEU annual capacity. The proposal, however, was stalled when the major shareholder of the company became embroiled in a court case on accusations of bribery in the United States.
It is also to be noted that this was a private initiative completely different from the Government’s plan to have extra capacity at Port Klang.
To date, Port Klang ranks as the 12th busiest port globally by volume of containers, having handled more than 10 million TEUs last year.
Port Klang, strategically located in the busy Straits of Malacca, has trade connections with over 120 countries worldwide and dealings with more than 500 ports throughout the globe. Northport handled close to 2.9 million TEUs last year and has allocated RM500mil in capital expenditure this year in a bid to boost its container-handling capacity to 6.2 million TEUs by 2016 from the current 5.6 million TEUs.
Westports, meanwhile, handled over seven million TEUs last year. Its current handling capacity stands at 9.5 million TEUs per annum. With its Container Terminal 7, or CT7, expected to come on stream in 2015, its annual capacity could be ramped up to 11 million TEUs.
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