NCB sees higher volume at Northport

It will reactivate berth expansion plan on economic recovery

PETALING JAYA: NCB Holdings Bhd projects a volume increase of 10% to 15% and will reactivate its expansion plan at Northport (M) Bhd this year in line with the current economic recovery trends.

Northport, a port operating subsidiary of NCB, posted a 5% decline in volume to 2.9 million twenty-foot equivalents units (TEUs) last year due to the global economic downturn.

Chairman Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid said the positive volume outlook this year was for containerised and conventional cargo.

We only expand to commensurate the business that we have: NCB HOLDINGS BHD CHAIRMAN TUN AHMAD SARJI ABDUL HAMID

“And since there are perceptible trends in economic recovery, the group has decided to reactivate the expansion of berth 8A this year,” he told reporters after the company AGM yesterday.

The expansion of berth 8A or container terminal 3 is part of Northport’s RM585mil five-year expansion plan announced in 2008. The project was postponed due to the global economic meltdown.

Ahmad Sarji said works on berth 8A would commence in two months for completion in about 18 months.

“The capital expenditure (capex) on the project has been revised where the cost will be determined by tendered price.

“Northport will continue to be prudent. We only expand to commensurate the business that we have and to retain our customers,” he said, adding that Northport’s 30-year lease agreement would expire in 2013 and it was doing the necessary to renew the lease.

Northport managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Basheer Hassan Abdul Kader said the revised capex on berth 8A was line with the drop in raw materials prices and construction cost.

He also forecast closing the port’s first quarter this year with a 24% year-on-year volume increase.

“But, it must be noted that the previous corresponding period was the worst quarter that the port recorded last year in tandem with the global economic downturn,” he said.

On NCB’s other business in container haulage and logistics via Kontena Nasional Bhd (KN), Ahmad Sarji said the company now was on the fast track to fully utilise its sizeable assets in an effort to move into third-party logistics (3PL) business.

“The move into 3PL is considered a natural progression for a haulage company like KN. Besides our prime movers, we also have over three million sq ft of open yard and 500,000 sq ft covered warehouse.

“About 50% to 60% of our 3PL customers last year were our current haulage customers,” he said.

NCB recorded a 12.1% drop in total revenue to RM831.4mil in its last financial year ended Dec 31.

However, its pre-tax profit was 2.3% higher at RM167.9mil.

NCB has also declared final and special dividend of 21 sen per share.

Northport recorded a pre-tax profit of RM148mil on revenue of RM611.9mil last year.

Meanwhile, KN posted a pre-tax profit of RM9.7mil and revenue of RM219.5mil for the year under review.

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