SEBERANG PRAI: The cross-border trade between southern Thailand and Malaysia has the potential to grow about 400,000 20-ft equivalent unit (TEUs) of cargo per annum.
Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Othman Aziz said the current trade volume was 120,000 TEUs per year.
“Rail operators should take advantage of the double-tracking system in the country, as it is only 20% utilised,” he said.
He said this at a briefing after launching the 200th intermodal chartered train services by Trili Maju Sdn Bhd.
Othman said since the double-tracking system was under-utilised, Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) should review its business plans.
“This will include exploring potential joint-ventures to maximise usage. KTMB should submit to us its business plans,” he added.
On opening the Bukit Kayu Hitam border checkpoint for 24 hours, Othman said the issue was not just about facilitating the movement of cargo.
“Although I personally support the 24 hours operation, there are issues related to security that needs to be addressed before any decision is made.
“The backlog of cargo at the border could be due to the ongoing construction of the new immigration, customs, and quarantine (ICQ) complex,” he added.
Meanwhile, KTMB chairman Datuk Nawawi Ahmad said the company had submitted applications to expand its cargo storage area in Padang Besar.
“It is now occupying a 3.2 ha site, which we plan to extend to 7.2 ha.
“KTMB has placed orders for 30 locomotives. There is a need for 2,000 more wagons,” he added.