Megah Port Management Sdn Bhd (MPM), the new operator of Labuan Liberty Terminal, on Monday (17 August) published a statement to address the recent complaints lodged about port charges which are claimed to be higher than before.
“While we value all opinions and suggestions towards making Labuan Liberty Terminal a prominent port in the region, we see a need to immediately address certain inaccurate and unsubstantiated claims made towards the port management,” said MPM Managing Director Tan Sri Mohd Bakri Bin Mohd Zinin
“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.”
As announced previously, MPM said it 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 noted it 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,” added Tan Sri Mohd Bakri.
“Up until the end of July, we have invested RM6.3 million (USD 1.5 million) into infrastructure improvements at Labuan Liberty Terminal despite a reduction of approximately 35% 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.”
When approached for comments, several shipping agents, freight forwarders and logistics providers said they were willing to back MPM’s refutation of the recent complaints.
MPM notes that the combined ships of these representatives make up 95% of Labuan Port’s imported cargo from places such as Singapore, Brunei and Port Klang.
“Crane Worldwide Logistics has been a port user of Labuan Liberty Terminal since 2015, and I have not seen any of the alleged price hikes since the new operator took over,” noted Jerry Hii, Labuan Station Manager from Crane Worldwide Logistics.
“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.”
Headquartered in Texas, USA, Crane Worldwide Logistics is a leader in supply chain solutions, providing freight forwarding and logistics services in 120 locations across 30 countries.
Anthony Dass from Ben Line Agencies Sdn Bhd shipping agent manager, noted that 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,” added Dass.
Ben Line Agencies is a leading maritime & logistics services provider in the Asia Pacific region.
As incoming goods often arrive on Thursday or Friday, MPM said it has started the initiative to exclude Saturdays and Sundays as part of the 3 days free storage facility to allow port users more time to deliver their cargo without additional costs incurred.
Previously, Saturdays and Sundays were counted as part of the 3 day free storage facility, which meant port users had to pay additional charges for non-business days.
Another key initiative by MPM was to extend its working hours for a full-day operation which gives port users ample time to move their goods.
“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,” concluded Tan Sri Bakri.
“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.”
MPM confirms that it will be attending the town hall session scheduled for August 28, 2020, and looks forward to meeting with trade associations, chambers, port users and relevant bodies to discuss port-related matters after the Movement Control Order (MCO) is lifted.
Photo credit: Straits Inter Logistics
Published: 17 August, 2020
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