Monday July 2, 2012
PTP investing RM1.4bil to make Port of Tanjung Pelepas more competitive
By SHARIDAN M.ALI
TANJUNG PELEPAS: The Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) is investing RM1.4bil over the next three years in new cranes, electrifying existing rubber-tyred gantries (RTGs) and building new berths.
“The industry is continuously evolving and shipping lines continue to build larger vessels to achieve economies of scale. Ports will therefore need to deploy bigger capacity cranes. For example, Evergreen is building 10 mega-sized vessels with a 13,800 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) load capacity,” said PTP chairman Datuk Mohd Sidik Shaik Osman.
“Maersk Line is also building 20 mega-sized vessels in South Korea. The new vessels, nick-named the Maersk Triple-E' vessels, will be even bigger than the largest container vessel plying the oceans today.
Sidik said none of the cranes used in the world today would be able to handle these vessels as they were not big enough. “In order to serve these giant vessels, ports will need new cranes which are more sophisticated, higher and have a longer outreach,” he said.
As such, PTP along with six other international ports (Felixstowe, Bremerhaven, Rotterdam, Yantian, Shanghai and Ningbo) selected by Maersk Line for their “Daily Maersk” programme will have to build new cranes in order to accommodate these vessels.
As for PTP, it was already in the advanced stage of the procurement process, he said. “We plan to purchase eight of these cranes at a total cost of RM250mil. We will also invest in 32 additional units of RTG cranes at a total cost of more than RM200mil. Our plans also include building two new berths” he added.
Sidik said that the port was on track to handle eight million TEUs for the full year 2012. “The figures look encouraging. Last month, we handled 679,617 TEUs, the highest ever handled by PTP in any single month. Prior to this, the highest number of containers handled in a single month was in March when we handled 679,256 TEUs,” he noted.
He attributed the port's good performance to its motto of continuously striving to provide efficient port services.
Efficiency encompassed a few factors, among them, he said, were high productivity in terms of fast crane movements and the ability to turn around vessels quickly.
Unlike other local ports, as a transhipment hub PTP would compete in a totally different field, he said, adding that 95% of the boxes that it handled were boxes on transit.
He said it was a very competitive and volatile sector as shipping lines could choose to tranship their boxes at any one of the regional transhipment hubs in this region. In order to stay relevant, PTP needed to continuously perform and invest in technology, he noted.
Sidik said of late, they noticed that there had been an increase in cargo originating from other parts of Malaysia being transhipped at PTP.
“The numbers are increasing. Last year, we handled 230,000 TEUs from the northern region and 320,000 TEUs from the central region of Malaysia.
“These are boxes which are headed for far-away destinations and need to be connected to the larger mainline vessels. They are being transhipped at PTP due to the more modern facilities and the availability of the larger long-haul vessels calling here,” he added.
“With the new berths and equipment, we will be able to increase our capacity from 8.4 million TEUs to 10 million TEUs per annum. Looking at the rate we are growing, it looks like we will need to build a new berth with supporting equipment every year.”