Tuesday, May 15, 2012

No More Container Port Strikes Following Road Haulage Dispute Says Minister

Malaysian Government Forecasts 21 Million + TEU's This Year
Shipping News Feature

MALAYSIA – Following the ending of the strike by hundreds of road haulage drivers responsible for the throughput of shipping containers at Port Klang the Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said today he expected the country’s ports to handle over 21 million TEU’s this year. The protest was due to the increasing of depot ‘gate’ charges from around $1.60 to $5.85 and the waiting times, often 3 or 4 hours, to discharge or collect containers.

The authorities have revised the charges to between $4 and $5 per container entry and undertaken to ensure that depot owners will act immediately to improve procedures ensuring a smoother turnaround time for hauliers. Drivers' representatives say they accept the higher gate charges provided the money is used to accommodate longer opening hours and better facilities.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Association of Malaysian Haulage (AMH) and the Malaysian Container Depot Association (MCDA) on the 4th May setting new hours of work at the depots from 08:00 to 16:00 with no breaks in work to include Sundays and public holidays and today Minister Kong said he would organise a conference between all parties involved in the dispute together with local and state government representatives plus Chambers of Commerce and other interested bodies to ensure the situation never arose again.

Whilst speaking today Minister Kong said he expected the country’s ports to handle 21.18 million TEU’s this year following the revelation that Q1 figures were up 6.5% against 2011 to 5.1 million twenty foot equivalent units.

Some of the unrest amongst Malaysia’s haulage community is doubtless due to the continued efforts to liberalise the industry throughout the ASEAN community. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has vowed to increase competition with more cross border competition in all areas of transport, something which impacts on the haulage industry, particularly in border areas.

Photo: Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha