Kuala Lumpur: Northport’s ceo has defended his facility’s expansion plans during the downturn, pointing out that ports have to grow in tandem with the remarkable growth in ship sizes seen in the container shipping industry over the past five years.
Abi Sofian Abdul Hamid, boss of the wholly-owned subsidiary of NCB Holdings, said in statement: “Ships are getting bigger and are calling at fewer ports. The dynamics of shipping trade is changing at a faster pace than ever before. Thus, we have to be ready to move in tandem with all these changes with optimal efficiency.
“In other words, we have to have available capacity and facilities when trades and the world economy pick up as it would take one to two years for a port to construct a new wharf, for example.
“Shipping lines, especially the bigger ones, are also getting quite selective where port efficiency remains an important factor. Trade connectivity is another key element moving forward,” he said.
Northport has started construction of Wharf 8A which will form part of its Container Terminal 4, expected to be fully operational in July 2013.
“As you know our port has draft limitations but, with the completion of Wharf 8A, we will be able to berth the biggest vessel afloat which in turn will improve connectivity.”
The expansion will add 600,000 teu of extra annual capacity to Northport, which along with Westports form the two facilities that make up Port Klang.
Northport is also working to upgrade facitilies for its conventional cargo operations at Bulk Terminal and Southpoint.
“We are also upgrading Wharf 16 into a multi-purpose wharf, converting our container yard from straddle carrier mode into rubber-tyred gantry yard with the use of E-RTG as part of our green technology initiatives,” the ceo noted. [12/11/12]