Labuan port operator refutes claims about new and higher port charges

Megah Port Management Sdn Bhd (MPM), the new operator of Labuan Liberty Terminal, refutes claims on new and higher port charges and other negative claim about the port management.

MPM managing director Tan Sri Mohd Bakri Bin Mohd Zinin said while the company value all opinions and suggestions towards making Labuan Liberty Terminal a prominent port in the region, there is a need to immediately address certain inaccurate and unsubstantiated claims made towards the port management.

“Contrary to the allegations, we have not imposed any increments to the charges and fees ever since we took over the management of the port,” he said in a statement today.

Previously, MPM had made the first move to waive all wharfage and berthing charges in light of the Covid-19 impact on its clients.

Until today, the company has not yet collected any of these charges, and it does not intend to do so before discussing terms at the upcoming town hall session.

“During such an unprecedented time when economic activity has slowed down due to the Movement Control Order (MCO) and Covid-19, it would make sense for a company to cut back on its capital expenditure but we have done the complete opposite.

“Up until end of July, we have invested RM6.3 million into infrastructure improvements at Labuan Liberty Terminal despite a reduction of approximately 35 per cent in cargo volume.

“Our stakeholders and port users have seen and appreciated our efforts, and we have received positive feedback in return. This makes us question the credibility of the recent accusations and the intention behind such allegations,” he said.

Several shipping agents, freight forwarders and logistics providers are backing MPM’s refutation of the recent complaints.

It is important to note that the combined ships of these representatives make up 95 per cent of Labuan Port’s imported cargo from places such as Singapore, Brunei and Port Klang.

Crane Worldwide Logistics Sdn Bhd Labuan station manager Jerry Hii said the company has been a port user of Labuan Liberty Terminal since 2015, and have not seen any of the alleged price hikes since the new operator took over.

“We had large volumes of materials coming in from Singapore and Brunei recently, and if there were any changes in our logistics costs it would have been reflected in our financial statements.

“On the contrary, service has improved significantly, and MPM’s quick actions to improve port efficiency have also been vital to the freight forwarders and shipping lines, as container release time has been expedited and ship turnaround has reduced from 3 days to 1-2 days,” he said.

Ben Line Agencies Sdn Bhd shipping agent manager Anthony Dass said MPM had provided waivers during MCO, and denied that there were any extra charges.

“MPM’s initiative to extend operating hours has benefitted us greatly as it allows port users to complete the loading and unloading of cargo more efficiently compared to before,” he said.

Sea Lane Shipping Sdn Bhd representative Fadric Lo also expressed his satisfaction at how MPM was willing to amend certain charges to increase the cost-efficiency for its port users.

As incoming goods often arrive on Thursday or Friday, MPM had started the initiative to exclude Saturdays and Sundays as part of the 3 days free storage facility as to allow port users to have more time to deliver their cargo without additional costs incurred.

Previously, Saturdays and Sundays were counted as part of the 3 days free storage facility, which caused port users to pay additional charges for a non-business day.

“We would like to take this opportunity to emphasize that MPM is an integrated services port operator, and this means that we manage ship side stevedore and land based handling, as compared to the previous operator which only does the latter.

“In totality our charges remain the same as the previous operator, and yet the port services that we provide are far more superior when you look at it in terms of port operations efficiency, safety and security, as well as infrastructure,” Mohd Bakri said.

MPM looks forward to meeting with trade associations, chambers, port users and relevant bodies for the town hall session scheduled for August 28, 2020, to discuss port-related matters after the Movement Control Order (MCO) is lifted.

MPM is 51 per cent owned by Straits Inter Logistics Bhd, which is engaged in oil trading and fuel bunkering services and investment holding activities.

The remaining 49 per cent is held by LPM Holdings Sdn Bhd.
Source: NST Business

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