Malaysia: Northport Unveils Port Expansion Plans

Northport (M) Bhd, one of the main maritime gateways in the country, believes that its port capacity-expansion plans will be the catalyst to ride over the expected headwinds that may hit the industry going forward.

This is because as a seasoned player, the wholly-owned subsidiary of NCB Holdings Bhd has survived and withstood quite a number of economic downturns in the past by equipping itself with risk management strategies that have kept its head above troubled waters.

Apart from eliminating risks, the strategies provide for mitigation actions which enable Northport to bank on its port capacity expansion plans that have been carefully crafted to meet the future demand of sea trades that pass along the busy Straits of Malacca.

Northport is also aware of its hinterland advantages to secure more cargo requiring efficient total logistics solutions.

According to Northport chief executive officer Abi Sofian Abdul Hamid in a recent statement, the port industry had to prepare itself way ahead of industry demands and developments.

“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, adding that the current slump in a world economy and regional container trade was only a temporary glitch that Northport had to brace against.”

As businesses become more complex, especially those involving cross-border movements, such as supply chain, exposure to risks is also becoming multifaceted. Hence, risk management elements nowadays include capacity for emergency planning and response, incident management and crisis resolution, business-continuity planning and execution, and disaster recovery.

Bearing that in mind, Northport has currently commenced the 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 inject an additional container handling capacity of 600,000 TEUs.

Beyond that, the port 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.”

Besides that, Northport is also is investing in new equipment to support the efficiency of its operations. Among the equipment ordered are quay cranes, prime movers, rubber-tyred gantries and trailers.

All these projects upon completion will increase our capacity. This will be further enhanced with process to improve workforce capability under the Rejuvenating Team Northport Programme.

“These are our mitigation plans to stay ahead of the competition and stay in the main league,” said Abi Sofian.

Thus, he concluded that Northport was well prepared to sail smoothly in the expected choppy waters ahead but was also equipping itself to take advantage of the upcoming economic growth.

[mappress]

Source: bintuluport, November 12, 2012

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