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Pledge to resolve port woe: Chamber queries inoperative berths and breakdowns
Published on: Sunday, July 07, 2024
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Pledge to resolve port woe: Chamber queries inoperative berths and breakdowns
Phoong said the increased surcharges could hurt local industries and potentially cause inflation for Sabahans.
Kota Kinabalu: The State Government aims to resolve the port congestion issue without adding unnecessary burden to consumers and industrial players, especially given the recent boost in export performance from foreign investments and local industries.

“We are committed to working with all relevant parties to ensure a swift and effective resolution,” said State Industrial Development and Entrepreneurship Minister Datuk Phoong Jin Zhe, Saturday. 

He was responding to concerns over congestion issues at Sepanggar Port and potential surcharge increases. 

“I brought the issue to the State Cabinet’s attention on Wednesday. 

“The Cabinet has mandated the State Secretary to lead efforts tin addressing the situation promptly,” he said, adding a meeting was held with stakeholders, including the Port Operator. 

He noted the potential negative impact on Sabah’s industrial sector and overall economy if the issue persists. 

Phoong said the increased surcharges could hurt local industries and potentially cause inflation for Sabahans.

The Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI) Sabah, expressed strong dissatisfaction over the impending congestion surcharges at KK port.

MICCI Sabah Chairman Datuk Lee Swi Heng said it was given to understand that only two out of four existing berths at the Sepangar Bay Container Port are operational with no reason why the other two are not being used.  

“For past three weeks, one out of the two operational berths has gone out of order and causing backlogs; whilst lack of manpower and equipment breakdown were usual.   

“These unfair surcharges will be imposed on containers of all types entering Kota Kinabalu port, covering both domestic and international shipments, ranging from RM500 for 20-footer shipping containers to RM1,000 for 40-footer shipping containers that are COC-Certificate of Conformity; and USD100 for 20-footer shipping containers and USD200 for 40-footer SOC-shipper-owned containers,” he said. 

He urged the State Government, especially Ministry of Works, to intervene and seek a long-term solution to upgrade of port facilities and improve ports services.  

“Looking into the increasing number of port users in Sabah such as Sabah Kibing Solar Sdn Bhd, SK Nexilis Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Esteel Sabah and other mega projects.

“Putting aside other expected potential trade and businesses in the region attributed to the relocation of Indonesian’s capital city from Jakarta to Nusantara it is timely and essential to expedite the expansion works or plans of the Sepangar Bay Container Port,” he said. 

“These surcharges will be passed on to importers/ exporters and eventually to end users or consumers of goods and services in Sabah.  

“Thus further impede the competitiveness of our businesses in Sabah.  Moreover, consumers have no choice but compelled to pay for more for their wants and needs that are already expensive due to inflation.  

“Ultimately discourage foreign direct investment (FDI) and domestic direct investment (DDI) into our State,” he said. 

The Federation of Sabah Industries (FSI) suggested the State Government temporarily absorb the cost while resolving the issue. 

Its President Richard Lim said FSI referred the matter to the Sabah Logistics Council headed by Deputy Chief Minister II Datuk Shahelmey Yahya. 

“FSI representatives voiced concerns about the critical port issue and problems faced by members and industry players,” he said.

“To manage a port is not easy, and there are many restrictions and challenges. Problems will arise every day,” said Lim. 

Lim said establishing the Sabah Logistics Council was “a great move” to address productivity and logistical issues in Sabah.

He hopes the State Government, port operators, and industry players can work to build better and more conducive logistics infrastructure, positioning Sabah as a key logistics and transportation hub.

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