Penang Port Sees 30% Rise in Productivity Since Takeover by Seaport Terminal

23 MARCH 2015, BY


The Edge Markets (online), 23 March 2015

Penang Port sees 30% rise in productivity since takeover by Seaport Terminal

By Sangeetha Amarthalingam

GEORGE TOWN (Mar 23): Two new prime mover contracts and optimisation of its assets have contributed to a 30% rise in productivity at Penang Port, since it was taken over by Seaport Terminal (Johore) Sdn Bhd last year.

In a statement today, Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) Chief Operations Officer Steven Yoogalingam also added that two new liner services introduced at its North Butterworth Container Terminal were expected to provide better options to northern region exporters and manufacturers.

“When we took over, we realised our assets were not being utilised to the maximum and there were many complaints of slow turnaround. We made sure our equipment and machinery were sweated. We also re-rostered our manpower.

"In the meantime, we signed on two new prime mover contractors which increased the number of containers trailers from 60 to 92,” he said.

He said PPSB was rebuilding customer confidence by improving the overall service at the port with the aim of exceeding operational shipping lines and haulage requirements.

“Over the past six months, we have managed to improve our productivity levels by more than 30%. We are now averaging 27 crane moves per hour compared to 18 moves per hour in early 2014.

“This means we are able to turnaround vessels faster and within the stipulated shipping timeline. Haulage companies are also experiencing the same and can now do more trips daily with gate turnaround time improved by over 35%,” he said.

However, he told The Edge Financial Daily later that PPSB could not quantify the improvement expenditure or estimate its overall contribution because most of the improvement was operational and not so much financial.

On the new liners, Yoogalingam said shipping lines Pacific International Lines Pte Ltd (PIL) and consortium Thailand Straits Chennai Container Service Network (TSC) began operations in December 2014 and January this year, respectively.

PIL plies the route between China and Chittagong while shipping consortium TSC, comprising X-Press Feeders Ltd, NYK Line, Mitsui OSK Line Ltd and Regional Container Line Shipping Co Ltd covers the region between India and Thailand.

Yoogalingam said the exporters in South Thailand relied on Penang Port to export their goods which made up about 20% of the port’s volume.

“Penang Port’s hinterland is approximately 1.3 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) per annum in size, making it an attractive market for shipping lines especially intra-Asia carriers.

“Seventy per cent of Penang’s trade is intra-Asia bound and these direct vessel calls ensure that manufacturers are able to import and export cargo competitively in terms of logistics cost and timeliness,” he said.

He added that Yang Ming Marine Transport Co. and China Ocean Group Shipping Co. (Cosco) was expected to reinstate Penang Port as a direct port of call on its mainline service between the Middle East and Far East beginning April.

“We expect another two direct services to commence by the second quarter of this year. The shipping lines are also adding Penang Port to their Southeast Asia services,” he said.

French liner CMA CGA S.A and Indian OEL Shipping Pvt Ltd recently added a second weekly call on its Chittagong service while Regional Container Lines PCL, and Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd will begin a joint Southeast Asia service in March, he added.

He said the additional two shipping lines which made up a total of 34 and a joint sailing frequency of 31 weekly vessels that call at 60 ports directly were a result of 'significant' improvements made to the port’s container operations.

Penang Port was privatised by Seaport Terminal linked to tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary last year.