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Shipping master plan will fail without long-term planning by Transport Ministry

The Malaysia Shipping Master Plan (MSMP), which was developed for the period 2017-2022, aims to make the shipping industry a pillar of the national economy.

The goal of the plan is to help the maritime industry stay relevant and competitive in regional and global markets.

The MSMP lays out strategies and action plans to solve issues in the shipping industry, ranging from the ship itself to the recruiting and training of Malaysian seafarers and maritime human capital, ship financing, business prospects, regulation, and ancillary services.

Tremendous effort was put into developing this plan, and it was expected that players in Malaysia’s maritime sector would benefit significantly from complying with the strategies and timelines outlined in it.

MSMP is part of the Transport Ministry’s portfolio, and it attempts to ensure the long-term viability of the nation’s shipping community.

This shipping master plan is also a scheme aimed at ensuring that the industry remains focused on development, while also providing a roadmap for the next five years and beyond.

This is in line with Malaysia’s aspirations to position itself as one of the world’s top maritime nations.

The question of how extensively MSMP has been implemented keeps popping up.

The current findings indicate that it has fallen short of the mark.

The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the global economy, with catastrophic effects on all communities and nations.

The outbreak put the Malaysian shipping industry under tremendous stress.

The maritime industry was plagued by port congestion, container crises, job losses, infringement of local seafarers’ rights, operational inefficiencies, and high shipping costs.

Furthermore, the capabilities of the ministries and agencies with jurisdiction to administer, plan, and enforce assigned tasks were insufficient to continue implementing the MSMP.

Following this, the shipping community’s interest in the MSMP’s execution waned.

In order to revive the shipping industry, a structured strategy must be implemented.

The need to strengthen governance encompasses integrated actions in terms of policies, actions and related matters.

This is crucial since the industry is critical to the nation’s development and is the main component of its economic and commercial structure.

Malaysia’s future as a maritime nation is highly dependent on adhering to the master plan’s implementation in a timely and consistent manner.

The maritime industry’s positive post-pandemic progress has restored the confidence of the local shipping community, and it needs to be supported by the MSMP’s implementation.

The relevant ministries and agencies must take proactive measures to guarantee that the five-year objectives can be met.

Without long-term and viable sustainability planning by the Transport Ministry and its agencies, it is not an exaggeration to say the MSMP will fail and every goal that has been set will remain out of reach.

Malaysia also needs to formulate a realistic policy framework to ensure the potential of the shipping industry remains comprehensive in the future.

In order to establish a roadmap, the views of stakeholders and academicians should be taken into consideration.

If and when Malaysia regains its position as a regional maritime champion, political intervention and misuse of power must be avoided.

Without cooperation and coordinated action, it is impossible for Malaysia to meet the rapid demand for global shipping.

Governments and industry players should reorient relations, work together and put aside their own interests to strengthen the country’s shipping industry.
Source: Straits Times

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