Penang Port Sdn Bhd aims to expand its cargo capacity to 2.8 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), from current two million TEUs to cater for future growth.
The company is allocating RM180 million for capital expenditure (capex) this year, mainly for the expansion of the North Butterworth Container Terminal (NBCT).
“We will strengthen and expand the capacity of the berth, which also includes buying two new quay cranes,” acting CEO Sasedharan Vasudevan said during a media tour organised in Penang recently.
Sasedharan targets Penang Port to handle 2.3 million TEUs in the next four to five years, driven by higher cargo volume from southern Thailand.
The port is two hours away from Bukit Kayu Hitam customs point in Kedah, giving it a huge advantage to attract more cargo.
Thai shippers only have to drive four hours from Hat Yai to Penang, compared to the 13 hours’ journey from Hat Yai to Thailand’s main ports like Bangkok Port and Laem Chabang Port.
The Songkhla Port does not cater to big ships due to its limited water draft and handling capacity.
In addition, the railway cargo terminal at Padang Besar, Perlis, was upgraded last year to give a boost to the logistics industry, especially to the northern part of Malaysia.
Thai’s cargo currently constitutes 38% of Penang Port’s total volume.
Previously, Sasedharan told The Malaysian Reserve that the company had ordered three new rubber-tyred gantry cranes last year as part of the expansion plan.
At present, an engineering and feasibility study is being done and construction of the project is slated to commence in the third quarter this year, for a work period of 18 to 20 months.
Last year, NBCT handled a total volume of 32.7 million freight weight tonnes (FWT), where containerised was 23.01 million FWT.
Container throughput grew 6% year-on-year to 1.5 million TEUs, compared to 1.4 million TEUs in 2016.
Meanwhile, on cruise business, Penang Port is expected to bring a German cruise liner to the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal, adding excitement to the terminal which has received cruise ship calls from the global major players such as the Star Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Princess Cruises.
Penang Port sees a big potential for its cruise segment and expansion is also ongoing to cater for growth.
Source: Malaysian Reserve
Sea News, February 26