PENANG: Bangladesh is keen to make the Penang port its sister port as part of efforts to enhance trade and relationships between the two nations, its Minister of Shipping, Shahjahan Khan, said.
He said Bangladesh, a developing country, was keen to have a greater understanding of the operations of a modern port such as the Penang port.
“We do not have any sister port and we feel that the Penang port will be ideal,” he told a media briefing after a tour of the newly-completed Swettenham Pier International Cruise Terminal here on Tuesday.
Shahjahan is leading a delegation on a visit to Penang port.
Accompanying them were Penang Port Commission chairman Tan Cheng Liang and Penang Port Sdn Bhd chairman Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya.
He said he would discuss the matter with Bangladesh prime minister soon.
“I hope to sign the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Penang port soon. We are impressed with the development of the port here,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tan said she hoped the MOU could be signed soon as it would help enhance the development of the ports.
“If we sign the MOU with the port, especially Chittagong port, it will help strengthen the relationships between the two nations in terms of port operations,” she said.
She said Penang port has made a steady progress since it was privatised in 1994 and its throughput increased by 3.1 per cent to 958,476 twenty-foot equivalent (TEUs) last year from 929,639 TEUs in 2008.
Tan said the Penang port would undertake projects including the acquisition of container equipment and increase the post-Panamax gantry cranes to 16.
She said the newly-completed international passenger ship terminal at the Swettenham Pier International Cruise Terminal was expected to attract one million passenger arrivals this year.
“With the capabilty of the terminal to receive bigger ships it is expected that the number of passengers staying over in Penang will increase.
“The terminal also has facilities for ferries plying between Penang and Langkawi and between Penang and Medan, Indonesia,” she said.
The 15,000 sq ft terminal also has houses the Customs and Immigration offices and quarantine area. – Bernama