Penang ports to see precipitous drop in cargo handling, cruise operations
Penang’s port industry has been greatly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the House was told today.
State Transport and Infrastructure Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari (DAP-Tanjung Bungah) said declines are expected in the handling of contena and conventional cargo, and cruise operations, this year, compared to last year.
Answering a question by Dr Afif Bahardin (Bersatu-Seberang Jaya), Zairil said the handling of contenas is expected to drop by 6.6 per cent this year, compared to 2019.
He added that the handling of contenas for 2019 was 1,113,618 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units), but the figure is expected to drop to 1,040,098 TEU this year.
“Similarly, the handling of conventional cargo is expected to drop by 17.2 per cent; and cruise operations by a whopping 70.6 per cent.
“The handling of conventional cargo last year was 7,167,415 FWT (freight weight tonnes). Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) is only expected to handle 5,934,435 FWT conventional cargo this year.
“As for cruise operations at the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT), they are expected to drop by 70.6 per cent. PPSB handled 733,789 passengers last year. However, the figure is expected to drop to 212,627 passengers this year,” he added.
Dr Afif had asked about the performance of the state’s port industry amidst the pandemic.
PPSB, the oldest and longest established port in Malaysia, serves as the main gateway for ships in the northern states of Peninsular Malaysia, and the southern provinces of Thailand.
Strategically located along the Straits of Melaka, the port sits in one of the busiest shipping routes in the world.
Last year, Malaysia came in third in Asia after Japan and mainland China in terms of cruise deployment and capacity.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow (DAP-Padang Kota), when answering a question by Ong Khan Lee (PKR-Kebun Bunga), said the Penang government has not decided on the implementation of an economic stimulus package for next year, 2022 and 2023.
However, he said that if the need arises, a package would be drafted after taking into account the effects and impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the successful implementation of actions by the Penang Socio Economic Recovery Consultative Council (PSERCC), and the state’s finances.
“PSERCC was set up to identify issues and challenges which prevent economic growth and propose recovery measures in determining a more sustainable socio-economic development for the good of the people post-Covid-19.
“Under the committee, six working groups have been set up to assist PSERCC. For now, all working groups have identified and implemented short-term and medium-term measures to ensure the recovery of the state’s economy.
“Under the state’s 2021 Budget, the Penang government will focus on ensuring economic recovery and minimise the effects of the pandemic,” he added.
Source: New Straits Times