MTT Pulau Pinang, first Malaysian vessel named after Penang sets sail

11 JUNE 2015, BY
MTT Group of Companies has launched its new container vessel MTT Pulau Pinang, which will improve shipping connectivity between East and West Malaysia.

The new Japanese-built geared container ship with a nominal capacity of 1,157 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit) with an intake of 860 TEUs at 14 tonnes is one of the largest container ships working the East and West Malaysia domestic trade.

MTT Shipping managing director Ooi Lean Hin said before MTT Pulau Pinang, there was no direct service from Penang to East Malaysia and Brunei.

Containers from Penang were fed to vessel in Port Klang before they were sailed to East Malaysia, he said.

“However given the size of the Penang market, it is not viable for too many calls so we still provide good connections to East Malaysia via Port Klang,” he told reporters after the launch of MTT Pulau Pinang at the North Butterworth Container Terminal (NBCT) this morning.

MTT Shipping offers three weekly fixed day sailings to Kuching and Kota Kinabalu; twice a week to Tanjong Manis, Sibu, Miri and Muara in Brunei; and weekly to Labuan, Sandakan and Tawau.

Ooi also said the company made a turnover of RM350 million a year.

MTT group executive chairman Datuk Dr Kenny Ong said with the inclusion of MTT Pulau Pinang, the first Malaysian container vessel to be named after Penang island, MTT Shipping would have six Malaysian vessels working the domestic trade scene.

The others were MTT Tawau, MTT Muara, MTT Kinabalu, MTT Kuching, and MTT Port Klang.

“We now have eight vessels, of which two are chartered. But by the end of the year, another two new ships will join the fleet to replace the chartered ones in stages.

“The first is expected to come next month and the other in August,” he said.

Ong also said when MTT Shipping had all its own vessels in the water, the company would also slowly phase out the older ships and have them replaced.

"We have not decided on when yet but when the time comes, the older ships will have to be phased out.

“Speed and reliability of service are important and we cannot afford breakdowns,” he said.

Earlier in his speech at the launch, Ong said over a short span of four and a half years, MTT Shipping had become a success story.

"It is today the largest domestic operator in Malaysia, as well as the largest container operator in the country,” he said.

He added that MTT Shipping has been recently ranked number 70 by Alphaliner, the shipping information platform. – June 11, 2015.