Malaysia expects 10M boxes this year

Malaysia expects 10M boxes this year

Malaysia expects strong growth to boost container volume at its main ports to more than 10 million TEUs this year, up from 8.9 million TEUs in 2002.

Despite problems earlier in the year, handling at Malaysian ports is better than expected, Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy said. "We are confident that with more ships calling at our ports, increase in productivity and our competitive rates, we would see about 10.5 million TEUs," he said.

Official figures for the first three quarters show Malaysian port business up more than 16 percent from a year ago to 7.6 million TEUs from 6.6 million, the minister said.

The fastest growth was at southern Tanjung Pelepas, which continues to drain traffic from neighboring Singapore, where volumes jumped 36 percent to 2.5 million TEUs against 1.9 million in the first three quarters of 2002.

Pelepas is expected to break into the rankings of the world's 20 busiest ports this year, Chan said. It was No. 21 or No. 23 last year, depending on which listing is used.

Germany's Bayerische Motoren Werke AG recently announced that it will shift parts distribution from Singapore to Pelepas in 2004, though it will keep its regional headquarters in Singapore.

Dredging and reclamation for eight more berths and the construction of two new ones will enable Pelepas to handle 6 million TEUs annually, Chan said, to be completed next July.