MMC expects cargo volume spike due to Suez Canal incident

A view shows Ever Given container ship in Suez Canal in this Maxar Technologies satellite image taken on March 29, 2021. — Maxar Technologies pic via Reuters
A view shows Ever Given container ship in Suez Canal in this Maxar Technologies satellite image taken on March 29, 2021. — Maxar Technologies pic via Reuters

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — MMC Corp Bhd is anticipating an increase in transhipment cargo volume as a result of the Ever Given incident two weeks ago, where the container vessel ran aground and obstructed the passage of over 300 vessels at both ends of the Suez Canal.

Group managing director Datuk Seri Che Khalib Mohamad Nor said ships have resumed their journeys after the massive container ship was removed, clearing the key trade route for traffic.

He said this would bring positive outcomes to ports under the MMC’s management, particularly the Port of Tanjung Pelepas Sdn Bhd (PTP), which handles transhipment activities.

“They have to find a temporary place for their cargoes and PTP can accommodate this.

“Hence, we expect some spike in the next couple of weeks due to the release of the Ever Given vessel,” he said in a virtual press conference in conjunction with a media briefing on MMC’s digital transformation today.

Port Klang and PTP were the only Malaysian ports receiving calls from Europe and the Mediterranean countries.

It was reported that 437 ships were waiting to transit through the Suez Canal waterway, which is the most important waterway connecting the East and West.

Meanwhile, MMC has partnered with software provider Ramco Systems to implement the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) digital transformation programme across its ports, which would see the ERP system of MMC ports being consolidated into an integrated digital platform.

Commenting on the system integration, Che Khalib said the utilities and infrastructure group have allocated a high digitisation allocation for 2021, but declined to disclose the amount.

“The amount is substantial and a massive undertaking budget has been allocated for the ERP system, and the whole transformation is expected to be completed in 2023,” he added.

Che Khalib further explained that the ERP system consolidation across its ports would result in a cost reduction of approximately 20 per cent for all port operations.

MMC’s ports and logistics division includes the operations of PTP, Johor Port Bhd, Northport (Malaysia) Bhd, Penang Port Sdn Bhd and Tanjung Bruas Port Sdn Bhd.

MMC also has presence in Saudi Arabia via the Red Sea Gateway Terminal Company Ltd, a container port terminal within the Jeddah Islamic Port.

“We also looking at imposing the same system for our container business under Kontena Nasional Bhd.

“However, the transformation system is not included in our activities in Jeddah,” he said.

The ERP is expected to improve MMC’s customers’ experience, particularly through having a standard mode of operations across its ports.

Meanwhile, on another development, Singapore will revise its port dues rates to fund the increased costs of operating and maintaining the Port of Singapore, according to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

It was reported that the revision is also to encourage vessels to make faster turnarounds in the port to allow more ships to be served within the limited anchorage space in the port.

“Port dues fund the maintenance of Singapore’s fairways, anchorages and aids to navigation, which are vital to the navigational safety of port users,” said the MPA. — Bernama

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