MALAYSIA, home to two big terminals Port Klang and Tanjung Pelepas on the vital Malacca Strait, will long be a mainstays of the Maersk organisation, says the company's local cluster chief, Dan Lauritzen.
Mr Lauritzen, Maersk Line's manager for Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei, said that with Malaysia investing in its ports and attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), shippers were now placing increased importance on its reliability and frequency.
Mr Lauritzen said Malaysia achieved GDP growth of 7.6 per cent in the last quarter of 2014 and 5.6 per cent in the first quarter of this year.
The expansion was driven by the manufacturing, led by electronics and electrical clusters supported by a weakening of the Malaysian Ringgit against the dollar and a net inflow of FDI of US$10.6 billion in 2014.
The Danish shipping giant calls at seven Malaysian ports and now offers 140 calls a week, of which 60 per cent are at Tanjung Pelepas, 35 per cent at Port Klang, and the remainder spread across Penang, Kuantan and east Malaysia.
Mr Lauritzen, said the carrier would continue to spread its business around the key hubs of Southeast Asia, Lloyd's Loading List reported.
"Together with Singapore, port of Tanjung Pelepas will remain a main transshipment hub port in southeast Asia, and at the same time, we will continue to grow our presence in Port Klang according to market demand," he said.
Mr Lauritzen also confirmed that Malaysia was well placed to prosper when the ASEAN Economic Community entered into force at the end of the year and from other trade deals such as the Trans Pacific Partnership.
Port Tanjung Pelepas (PTP), which saw container throughput surge 12 per cent year on year to 8.5 million TEU in 2014, expects to handle nine million TEU in 2015.
The port intends to dredge shipping channels to handle larger vessels and expand capacity to 15 million TEU within the next five years
Port Klang saw growth of 5.8 per cent in container volumes last year when it handled 11 million TEU. Both container terminal operators - Westports and Northport - expanded capacity in 2014 and the Port Klang Port Authority has now dredged a major shipping channel to 18.5 metres to improve access to mega-ships.
Said Mr Lauritzen: "The softer exchange rate for the Malaysia Ringgit has increased purchasing cost for buyers in Malaysia. However, this same factor will, all things being equal, have increased the attractiveness of Malaysia's exports to overseas markets.
"An interesting point to note is that we see an increased importance of reliability and frequency of shipments for capital goods importers and the manufacturing sector, as these shippers are moving towards lean production," he said.
Source : HKSG.