Port Klang Free Trade Zone's transformation plan

Loke: There is a big convention centre but it is used optimally. There is also a hotel building and office space which are empty.

KLANG: The Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) transformation masterplan will see the enhancement of its asset utilisation to better serve the future growth of the regional maritime trade and the logistics industry.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke said PKFZ’s current infrastructure and strategic assets would have to be fully utilised in order for PKFZ to transform itself and play a supporting role to create a value add for Port Klang.

This is also to ensure that it has a sustainable future and increase its revenue so that it will be able to repay its debts to the government and ease the burden of its owner, the Port Klang Authority (PKA).

He stressed that there would be no capital injection from the government and that PKFZ and PKA have to be self-sustaining to service its debts.

PKA began servicing its RM3.8bil soft loan since last year and has to pay the Finance Ministry RM55mil every quarter, or RM220mil annually, for 29 years.

Loke said there would be no obligations from the government in terms of subsidising the loan.

“All the strategic assets that we have in PKFZ must be fully utilised. There is a big convention centre but it is used optimally.

“There is also a hotel building and office space which are empty. Part of the transformation plan is to utilise these assets and turn them into valuable assets for PKFZ, ” he told reporters after launching the masterplan yesterday, adding that these were all a waste of resources in the past.

PKFZ’s commercial zone has four blocks of offices measuring 6.5ha and a 135-room business-class hotel, while the convention centre measures 0.93ha.

Loke added that synergies and concepts to support the growth of Port Klang are needed to attract more investors, and that also brought about the plans to make PKFZ’s commercial zone a duty-free zone.

Proposals in the masterplan also include a lifestyle and education hub to create an ecosystem to support the port.

PKFZ is a 404.69ha duty-free zone, of which 384.45ha are fenced off as an industrial zone and the remaining 32.37ha are the commercial zone.

PKFZ chairman Chan Leng Wai said it has since leased out its open land of around 259ha and 512 light industrial units in its industrial zone.

It is also working with its tenants to market the 18.58-ha warehouse space it has built.

“The commercial zone was originally developed to support the industrial zone. We now recognise that the industrial zone cannot sustain the assets in the commercial zone.

“We have decided to continue our focus on the logistics industry while rebranding to make the commercial zone a happening lifestyle hub, ” said Chan.

The first phase of the transformation plan will see PKFZ launching initiatives such as a Maritime Logistics Academy and a Maritime Science Discovery Centre.

This will then be supported with the launch of a hotel and retail outlets within the commercial zone.

As for the industrial zone, there are plans to develop an e-commerce parcel sorting and regional distribution centre, expand value-added services such as manpower management and a green solar energy joint venture.

PKFZ has inked memoranda of understanding with China Ocean Shipping Co Ltd (Cosco), SubHome Management Sdn Bhd, Penang Tech Centre Bhd and the Penang Skills Development Centre, Shui Xing Venture Sdn Bhd, Pestech Sdn Bhd and A.P. Locfor Malaysia Sdn Bhd to achieve its transformation objectives.

PKFZ’s revenue is expected to hit RM97mil this year, with around RM80mil surplus in net income, on the back of around 327,000 twenty-foot equivalent units and 4.12 million freight weight tonne cargo throughput.

Meanwhile, Loke said he would approve the realignment proposal for Section C of the East Cost Rail Link within the next two days.

He said Section C, which links Mentakab in Pahang to Port Klang, has been finalised.

Following Loke’s approval, the proposal will be put on public display for three months for the public to go through it and provide their input.

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