Northport (Malaysia) Bhd hit an all-time high container volume this year with the port operator’s 2021 throughput to date 20.7% higher than in 2020, despite battling “two perfect storms”.
It hit the record after the 3,305,765th container was discharged from the Interasia Horizon vessel, surpassing the previous record of 3,305,764 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) set in 2010.
“Despite battling two perfect storms, the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent unprecedented flash floods, which impacted its operations, Northport, a member of MMC Group, ended 2021 on a high note with a remarkable record-breaking performance,” the company said in a statement.
Chief executive officer Datuk Azman Shah Mohd Yusof said Northport had embarked on its "Reinventing Northport" programme since the takeover of Northport by MMC Corporation Bhd group in 2016, which included refocusing strategy to become a local gateway and intra-Asia hub, optimising operating costs, replacing aging equipment, enhancing facilities, as well as improving services and productivity.
“This had led us to break our highest monthly container handling performance by recording 310,865 TEUs in December last year. We were making steady progress until the pandemic hit us hard,” he said.
He also said the major challenge for its operations came at the start of the year, when the port experienced heavy congestion at its container yard due to a high number of vessel calls, where the discharge of containers from the vessels was more than the loading operation.
“Northport faced more than 250 vessel omissions in 2021, as shipping lines realigned their schedules and omitted port calls,” he said
However, Azman said ports and logistics industry players came together and did their part, aided by the government agencies and led by Port Klang Authority (PKA) to bring some semblance of normalcy to Port Klang’s operations.
He revealed that Northport was also impacted after over 500 of its employees were affected by the recent flash floods.
Overall, the company said 2021 ranked as Northport’s best year ever with many notable achievements, including the "Best Port Safety Management Award" from the Ministry of Transport on Dec 21, which was a testament to its commitment to maintaining a high standard of safety and health practices.
He also said another notable achievement for Northport in 2021 was the completion of the acquisition of Boustead Cruise Centre Terminal in Port Klang on a 50:50 joint venture arrangement between Northport and Westports Malaysia Sdn Bhd on Sept 23.
On the outlook for next year, he said the company has been cautiously optimistic on the prospects of 2022 in the face of an uncertain economic outlook, with a new wave of Covid-19 infections already affecting many countries globally.
“Nevertheless, we will continue with the next phase of ‘Reinventing Northport’ as we are expanding our yard capacity and buying new equipment to further boost our productivity and achieve more success in our transformational journey to be a safer, greener, smarter and better port,” he added.
Source: The Edge Markets