News From : DagangHalal.com (23 Sep 2009)
PENANG, Sept 23 (Bernama) — Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has asked the Federal Government to give more attention to the Penang Port following a drop in container traffic.
He said the port recorded a 24 per cent decline in container traffic.
The decline was a warning to the Finance Ministry to inject fresh funds and new ideas into Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB), the port operator, he said.
” It’s a signal to the Federal Government to save the Penang Port. When all ports in Malaysia recorded healthy volume increase, the Penang Port is the only port to “sink” in performance,” he said in a statement.
Guan Eng said the Marine Department records showed ports in the country handled 10 per cent more containers in the second quarter of the year compared to the first, reflecting a recovery in both domestic and transhipment cargo.
Container traffic at the 10 major ports rose to 3.79 million on Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) from 3.44 million in the period reviewed while the volume in the Penang Port was only 2,000 TEUs, less than the Johor Port, in the first quarter,” he said.
Guan Eng said that while the container volume at the Johor Port went up by seven per cent, it slided by a shocking 24 per cent at the Penang Port.
The dismal figures showed the Penang Port now lies a distant fourth busiest in the country when it was only slightly behind the Johor Port in the first quarter
The Chief Minister said questions are being asked on the role played by the regulatory body, Penang Port Commission (PPC), to revitalise the Penang Port and reverse the downward trend in container traffic.
” While the PPC’s promised completion of the Swettenham Pier by this month remained unfulfilled, the Finance Ministry should intervene and actively engage in the activities of the Penang Port,” he said.
The Federal Government should seriously consider restoring Penang’s free port status to revive Penang port as the pride of the nation, he said.
The state government had offered its cooperation and coordination for the new found focus for the halal port in line with the state government’s emphasis on the halal industry, he added.