It did experience difficulties in the beginning. However, every cloud has a silver lining and for Penang Port, abundant opportunities emerged, just waiting to be capitalised on.
This was due to the following factors:
* Marketing strategy
In line with the Penang Port’s strategy to be supply-driven and make Penang Port a mainline port, it has embarked on several key projects.
Presently, Penang Port captures more than 90 per cent of the market share in port handling for trade by sea within the hinterland of four northern states of the peninsular and more than 50 per cent of the market share for the southern Thai region.
* Continuous demand and ample resources
With continuous support from the existing hinterland and future hinterlands such as Medan, Myanmar, Bangladesh and the Indian sub-continent, Penang Port is capable of performing at its best.
Ample resources from Penang Port’s skilled and motivated employees as well as loyal and supportive stakeholers contributed to its growth and sustainability as a major port in the northern region.
In line with this, the expansion and acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment also helps to propel it to be a world-class port.
* Geographical location
Thanks to its strategic geographical location as well as being within the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT), the Penang Port manages to stay ahead, providing the best for its customers.
“Penang Port can be positioned as a regional transshipment hub and upgraded to be one of the major container ports in the Bay of Bengal,” said its managing director Datuk Ahmad Ibnihajar.
For the year 2009, Penang Port handled a total of 929,639 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), a growth of 3.1 per cent from 958,476 TEUs in 2008.
This was quite an achievement as many other ports in the region were registering negative growth then.
As a multi-purpose port, Penang Port handles dry bulk cargo, liquid bulk cargo, break bulk cargo and also containerised cargo.
Cargo handling performance in 2009 registered a marginal decrease of 6.69 per cent to 24,278,244 tonnes compared with 26,019,903 tonnes in 2008, but for the year to date for 2010, cargo handling recorded a growth rate of 51.59 per cent to 4,361,478 tonnes compared with 2,877,082 tonnes the previous year.
Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal
“Penang Port was proud to receive the RMS Queen Mary 2, one of the world’s largest ocean liners, when it made its maiden call at the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal on February 4.
“It marked a new milestone for the port operations in handling cruise liners.
“With more international cruises berthing at the Swettenham Pier, we aim to achieve higher and better revenue in the near future,” said Ahmad.
With the continuous support of anchor customers, Ahmad said Penang Port managed to handle cruise vessels in spite of the economic downturn in recent times.
Penang Port has also embarked on a corporate branding exercise.
“Our objective is to elevate the port into a powerful and influential name as well as the brand ambassador for Malaysia, and at the same time ensure the achievement of its long-term objectives.
“This is in line with our infrastructure expansion and attaining the latest port equipment to ensure that Penang Port achieves the efficiency of a world-class port,” said Ahmad.
Penang Port also aims to enhance its image and services and at the same time send out the right message of what it represents or stands for and what it aims to be in the future.
“The whole idea of corporate branding is not only about image building but also about culture and vision.”
Penang Port also strives to deliver on its promises to its customers.
The year 2009 marked another milestone in the history of the port.
It was the first port in Malaysia to receive the MS1900-2005 Quality Management System – Requirement from Islamic Perspective on Provision of Container Handling Services and Warehouse certification from Sirim.
“In order to enhance our safe working environment, we are also undertaking a programme for the OSHAS 18001-2007/MS1722-2005 certification which is expected to be completed by this year,” Ahmad said.