PUTRAJAYA - Malaysian ports efficiency will not be affected by Ocean Alliance's move to relocate operations to the Port of Singapore, says Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai (pic).
"Our competitiveness, particularly Port Klang, remains unaffected despite the move by Ocean Alliance, led by CMA CGM, to relocate their operations in the Port of Singapore," he said.
"It is only a short term ripple effect due to the move by Ocean Alliance, and mergers and acquisitions of CMA CGM," he said after chairing the Third National Logistics Task Force Meeting for 2017 here yesterday.
Liow said with two out of three shipping alliances operating in Singapore, shipping lines would find it more challenging to operate, especially transshipment, in the island nation.
"It makes more sense for each of the alliance to locate its hub in different ports so that it can compete leveraging on the strength of its supply chain. But now, they are competing within a single hub in the same port without deriving any strategic advantage.
"Instead of having a pool each for themselves, they now are competing within a single pool. It is not far-fetched to say that with shipping lines intensifying competition against one another in Singapore, Port Klang will potentially be an attractive alternative hub in the future.
"It is a golden opportunity for shipping lines," he added.
Malaysian ports, said Liow, were expected to continue to grow exponentially with a steady increase in total trade.
"Last year, our total trade was RM1.48 trillion (S$476.8 billion) while for the first seven months up to July 2017, it has surpassed RM1 trillion, the fastest pace ever. Total indigenous throughput for the first eight months in 2017 for Port Klang grew by 5.5 per cent from 2.70 million Teus in 2016 to 2.85 million Teus.
"Also, cargo volumes are expected to increase with the setting up of regional distribution centres in the vicinity of the ports," he said, adding that local ports had stayed focused on attracting cargo from the South-East Asian region.
On the Malaysia Shipping Masterplan, Liow is confident that it will bring the shipping industry through its key strategic shifts to greater heights.
"I will be chairing the Malaysia Shipping Council which has been entrusted to look into re-energising the Malaysian shipping industry.
"For the shipping lines here, I am looking forward to meet and work with them to ensure that we grow and prosper together. We will build a brighter future for the shipping industry in Malaysia," Liow added.
On the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) located in KLIA Aeropolis, Liow urged MAHB to closely monitor the upgrading works at the former Low Cost Carrier Terminal to ensure it is completed on time and operational by year end.
"Jack Ma will be visiting Malaysia next month. We must be prepared to leverage on his visit, particularly the state of readiness of DFTZ," Liow said.