PUTRAJAYA: There must be continuous efforts to strengthen Malaysia’s competitive edge in ports and logistics services to attract more trade flow into the country, says Anthony Loke.
The Transport Minister said while the country should be mindful of the competition, particularly within the region, it should remain focused on improving these services to lure bigger investments.
“That is why we are facilitating private investments, including by Wesports. This is an important investment not just for the port but also for the country.
“By enhancing the port’s services and facilities, it will be able to meet future demands to support the country’s economic growth,” he said after witnessing the signing of a third supplemental agreement for the privatisation of Westports on Friday (Dec 8).
The government, Port Klang Authority and Westports Malaysia Sdn Bhd signed the agreement.
Loke pointed out that beefing up port services and logistics facilities would be a boon for Malaysia, particularly with the high investment interest, including from China.
He said the government remains committed to turning Malaysia into a regional logistics hub, creating business potentials and spinoffs for other industries.
When asked if the agreement would compete with Thailand’s proposed land bridge project, he said, “So, notwithstanding what other countries are doing, we have to strengthen our competitiveness and expand our potential”.
On Nov 14, Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin proposed a one trillion Baht (200 Baht = RM13.08) land bridge project to investors in the United States, promoting the shipping route shortcut as a cheaper, faster and a safe alternative to the Melaka Straits.
On the supplemental agreement, the new concession will extend over a period of 58 years from 2024 to 2082.
It will include the existing port facilities in Westports and the new facilities to be developed during the concession period, involving an investment of RM39.6bil.
The expansion of the Westports terminal (CT10 to CT17) is expected to increase its capacity to 14million TEUs to 27 million TEUs based on projections until 2082.