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Malaysia’s transport minister slams liners’ decision to decamp to Singapore

The decision by the world’s newly formed container shipping alliances to concentrate their Southeast Asian transhipment activities in Singapore is a mistake and presents bold liners with a “golden opportunity” to settle elsewhere, Malaysia’s transport minister has argued.

With the April 1 rejig of container alliances, big lines such as CMA CGM, Evergreen and UASC have all moved from Malaysia to make Singapore their main port of call on the east-west tradelanes. Malaysia’s grand plans for massive port expansion across the nation are now under scrutiny, but the nation’s transport minister, Seri Liow Tiong Lai, is not giving up hope that some lines will decide neighbouring Singapore has become too crowded.

Speaking at Malaysia’s national logistics task force Meeting for 2017 here yesterday, Liow said: “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 port each for themselves, they now are competing within a single port, Liow continues.

“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,” the minister maintained, adding: “It is a golden opportunity for shipping lines.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. I am sure the liner companies that has experience operating in Malaysia, and that are now switching to Singapore, has done their analysis on an objective basis.

    Instead of complaining about their customers decisions, perhaps the Transport Minister of Malaysia should focus more on how they can become the “port of choice”

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