Transport Ministry taking proactive steps to resolve Port Klang congestion, says Dr Wee


PETALING JAYA: The Transport Ministry is taking proactive steps to resolve the congestion issue at Port Klang, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic).

The Transport Minister said a special taskforce has been formed to expedite the checking of containers going through Westports and Northport following a meeting with relevant agencies, associations and other stakeholders.

“The congestion issue at Port Klang continues to have a ripple effect throughout the retail industry and hurting the bottom line of consumers.

“Unfortunately, it was caused by a wide range of external factors as well as how well we can mitigate the issues on our soil.

“For a start, I have directed the Port Klang Authority (PKA) to organise a taskforce immediately with the Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services (Maqis), Royal Malaysian Customs, Westports and Northport to expedite the checking of containers going through both terminals, ” he said in a Facebook post Monday (Dec 28).

Also present at the dialogue on Monday were Customs deputy director-general Datuk Radzuan Abdul Razak and Maqis deputy director-general Dr Azhari Sharidan Abu Bakar.

Others included the Associated Chinese Chamber and Industry of Malaysia Logistics and Transport committee chairman Ng Chet Chiang, Malaysian Retailers Association vice-president Datuk Wira Ameer Ali Mydin, Shipping Association of Malaysia chairman Ooi Lean Hin, COSCO Shipping managing director Henry Tian and representatives from the EL Group, Selangor Freight Forwarder and Logistics Association, Malaysian National Shipping Council, and the Association of Malaysian Hauliers.

“I trust that Customs and Maqis will work together with PKA in the taskforce to hasten the speed of the inspections of the containers and release the goods to the customers as soon as possible, ” he said.

Dr Wee said Customs would ramp up the manpower needed to process the clearances while Maqis would bring up its checks to 200 containers per day from 100 currently.

He also reminded customers to collect their goods quickly to prevent further congestion.

“It is the responsibility of the customers to collect their goods once cleared by Customs and Maqis.

“On Monday (Dec 28), out of the 246 containers cleared, only 83, or about one-third, were collected within 24 hours. This has added to the ongoing congestion, ” he said.

Dr Wee also said that PKA has responded to concerns raised by the fruit and vegetable importers and wholesalers last Wednesday (Dec 23) that their consignments were delayed at Westports and deliveries that usually took two to three days was taking up to seven days.

“PKA has explained that the terminals at Northport and Westports are experiencing congestion due to a sudden surge of vessels and containers arriving, a scenario that is similar in major ports in the region and elsewhere.

“This sudden surge is also due to delays from their preceding ports including in China, Hong Kong and Singapore, due to a myriad of factors, ” he said.

To mitigate this issue, Dr Wee said Westports had already widened its space for extra TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) containers by 6,000 ground slots.

“Of this, 600 containers have been allocated for reefer containers (refrigerated containers) so that there is more space for perishables and foodstuff to be checked and expedited to the market, ” he said.

Dr Wee said he appreciates the input of all the attendees to the dialogue and urged all the industry players to continue to engage and coordinate with the authorities to reduce congestion.

“It (the congestion) is a result of many factors that can only be fixed when everybody plays their role.

“The external factors, especially during the pandemic, are unavoidable. The ministry will be ready to hear views to mitigate issues plaguing businesses, ” he said.

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Posted by Wee Ka Siong on Monday, 28 December 2020

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