Expansian plans to buoy Penang port into regional hub

THE year 2010 will be a big year for Penang Port.

The extension to its container wharf will be completed and the six new cranes built by ZPMC and delivered in December 2009 will commence service.

As the Penang Port managing director Datuk Ahmad Ibnihajar puts it: “There will be new operational options including on wharf storage serviced by high speed rail mounted gantry cranes, a new access bridge to the wharf and more storage yard space.”

Business overview

For the next three years, the Penang Port will continue to embark on its capacity building and productivity improvement to support its aim to be a premier port and logistics chain integrator in the IMT-GT economic region as well as for Bay of Bengal.

As container handling will continue to be its main revenue contributor, the Penang Port has invested more than RM1 billion for a few major projects since 2008.

North ButterworthContainer Terminal (NBCT) Phase 3

The expansion of NBCT Phase 3 will be undertaken in two phases.

Phase 3A – The first phase in the expansion of dedicated container terminal will include a new 600-metre wharf extension to the existing 900-metre wharf.

A new decking area for export container and support by a third access bridge is under construction.

This project is expected to be completed ahead of schedule before end of 2010.

Phase 3B – Construction of a new back stacking area to the existing 900-metre wharves.

To compliment this expansion project, the Penang Port has taken delivery of seven ZMPC Post-Panamax cranes.

Four cranes were delivered in November 2009, while the remainder arrived in early December.

The cranes, which cost RM25 million each, were delivered fully assembled. A Post-Panamax crane can reach 18 rows of containers on board a ship.

The new cranes with its twin-lift capabilities will speed up handling operations as it can pick up two containers at a time.

In line with these new projects, productivity at the port will be enhanced with a new target of crane productivity at more than 25 moves per hour per crane.

With this expansion plan in place and supported by a programme to deepen the access channel at north channel, to be carried out in 2011, it will enable Penang Port to attract more mainline call and direct services.

The port can be positioned as a regional transshipment hub and upgraded to be one of the major container ports in Bay of Bengal.

Cargo services

“The Penang Port continues to build its capacity to cater for existing and potential growth in bulk cargo,” said Ahmad.

“We are also in the midst of planning to re-develop the old Prai wharf into a fully dedicated modern bulk terminal to handle limestone, iron ore and cement clinkers.

“The amount of investment is expected to be about RM224 million,” he said.

The new terminal will be 14 metres deep and will be able to handle panamax vessels.

It will have a state-of-the-art conveyor belt, which will be linked directly to the customer’s premises.

The terminal will also be connected directly to KTMB’s national grid and will initially be expected to handle two million tonnes of bulk limestone and iron ore.

Ahmad said the Penang Port would continue to strengthen its cargo base by further increasing its land bank through the reclamation of an additional 404 hectares for various business activities and niche cargo such as free zone activities, halal hub and possibly to set up auto port and metal exchanges.

By: Lee Keng Fatt

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