Datin Paduka O. C. Phang, General Manager, Klang Port Authority & APA Chairman 2004 – 2005
“It is a pleasure for me to attend our Asean Ports Association meetings, in particular, our annual Main Committee Meetings, like this one we are about to have over the next few days.
It is occasion where I get to meet again all my fellow APA colleagues and the opportunity to meet new friends. It is also an occasion to experience the generous and warm hospitality of our host country members and in this connection, on behalf of the Asean Ports Association, I thank the Government of Indonesia and the host of this 31st APA meeting, the Indonesian Port Corporation I, II, III and IV for the generous invitation, warm hospitality and invaluable assistance given to us to make our meeting and our visit a success.
To cite a brief history, in 1967 countries in the South East Asia region forged an economic and trade alliance the Association of South East Asian Nations or a ASEAN to advance their agenda for economic growth, social progress and cultural development. Since then, ASEAN has played a pivotal role in the international community and has put forward ASEAN’s.
Through these ongoing efforts, the ASEAN region, today, is the fastest growing in the world.
In terms of economic power, ASEAN comprises a market of over 500 million people and has an annual gorss production worth well over US$500 billion. Moving in the same direction, a parallel cooperation tie was formed to build a strong foundation for regional cooperation among the ports in the Asean region.
The Asean Ports Association, in short APA was conceived to provide a venue for port officials concerned to meet and share experiences that may lead to finding solutions to identified problem areas and emerging issues affecting the port sector. APA celebrated its 30th anniversary last year. On that occasion I mentioned the founders os APA and today we are very fortunate to have here with us this morning at our 31st Meeting a very distinguished member who was one of the brainchild for APA’s birth — Bapak Habibie from Indonesia.
We at APA with the latest membership from Myanmar, are now looking towards the inclusion of Laos in the Asean Ports Association. It is our fervent hope that Laos will join the Asean fraternity as an APA member which will complete the membership of all ASEAN countries in the Asean Ports Association. It will indeed be a progressive step forward together as ASEAN Ports within s single ASEAN community with one identity and one vision. We are aware that Laos os a land-locked country with no sea-frontage. But ports are not necessarily physical locations with a seafront. Dry ports and inland clearance depots making use of railway and road linkages coupled with air linkages feature prominently as multimodal operations in ports today to enable transportation of goods and services. We look forward indeed to Loas joining us in the near future.
Over the years ports roles have undergone dramatic changes. From just being an entry for goods into the country, ports have an economic role to play serving as a life line to a country.
As members of the Asean Ports Association we have broadened our horizons through regional cooperation to achieve the broad objectives originally envisioned for the Asean Ports Association. We now persue together our goals in tandem with the broader policies.
Outlined by ASEAN towards an integrated and competitive ASEAN economy. We are fortunate to have our membership comprising both the public and private sector ports and towards this end, the private sector ports have a strategic and crucial role to help us spearhead a regional competitive age in the global market in addition to being a competitive vehicle instrumental for our international export base and as a production centre responding rapidly to business opportunities and demands.
APA fosters amongst others things, networking and development of human resources. We have compiled a compendium on training needs available in ASEAN. This compendium is updated from time to time and we work with the APA permanent secretariat in Manila to look into means to see how we can maximize the usage of this information in the most effective manner in terms of human resource development in member Ports.
APA also convenes Human Resource Development Seminars, where relevant topics are presented by expert speakers in the field of Human Resourn Development.
APA is also implementing a Port Familiarization Program which constitutes a study tour of member countries which will be carried out in phases. The pilot project for this program will be initiated by Bintulu Port of Malaysia which specializes in the handling of Palm Oil, LPG and LNG. APA hopes that with this we will move toward together, learning from each other, supporting one another towards achieving the goals and objectives of the Asean Ports Association, our individual countries and our organizations.
Asean Ports Association members will continue to work together as an ASEAN nation to develop our competitive advantages to tackle the challenges confronting us. Together we will continue to realise the vision that inspired our founding fathers to create ASEAN as region of peace, prosperity and harmony.