08 FEBRUARY 2021, BY
PPSB: Penang Port set to be focal point for shipping and transhipment activities


GEORGE TOWN: Penang Port will capitalise on the status of the North Butterworth Container Terminal (NBCT) as a Free Commercial Zone (FCZ) to tap into the Bay of Bengal market.

They aim to achieve this by undertaking transhipment activities for containers moving between the Bay of Bengal and the Far-East.

According to Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB), their plan in the future is also to link-up feeder operators in Bay of Bengal with mainline operators.

It said the FCZ would attract more traffic to NBCT and this would increase job opportunities which are very much needed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It added that the FCZ operations, which will commence next month, would put Penang on the world map as NBCT would be able to cater to activities such as high-tech warehousing and logistics facilities, spearheading positive economic growth in the northern region of Malaysia.

"Apart from job opportunities, Penang Port could also leverage on the FCZ status to entice investors around the world to conduct value-added activities such as break-bulking, grading, repackaging, relabeling, transit and re-export. With the establishment of FCZ in NBCT, foreign companies will be able to use the facilities before exporting their products overseas.

"This will also benefit Penang Port in the long run through the exemption of customs duty, excise duty, sales tax and service tax, except for certain goods.

"The local workforce and port operations will be much more efficient once the facilities are upgraded, cutting-edge technologies are implemented and introduced to cater to foreign investors," it said in a statement.

Penang Port is the oldest and longest established port in Malaysia, which serves as the main gateway for shippers in the northern states as well as the Southern Provinces of Thailand.

On Feb 1, the NBCT was gazetted as a FCZ.

Another historic milestone is that, Penang Port is set to be a focal point for shipping and transhipment activities.
According to PPSB, 2010 was a significant year for Penang Port as it achieved one million TEUs.

It said the achievement was an astounding leap from 1973, where it started from 516 TEUs.

"As of 2021, Penang Port has grown steadily to achieve a throughput of more than 1.5 million TEUs.

"Before the NBCT T1 project, the total berth capacity was at 2.1 million TEUs. Upon completion of the T1 project, the overall capacity increased to 2.3 million TEUs. The increase of 200,000 TEUs will oversee the surge of berth utilisation and reduce the vessel waiting time to berth," it added.

PPSB said the process of obtaining the FCZ status was an uphill task for Penang Port.

Since 2007, Penang Port has started the initiative to gazette NBCT as FCZ. It was only in 2018 when Penang Port Commission (PPC) and Penang Port finally revisited the plan to gazette the entire NBCT by requesting approval and support from Penang State Economic Planning Unit.

The gazetting of NBCT involves 10 lots of land covering a total area of 83.57 hectares.

Source: https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2021/02/664162/ppsb-penang-port-set-be-focal-point-shipping-and-transhipment-activities