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19 Nov 2012

Westports optimistic on growth despite challenges

The Star Monday November 19, 2012

 PORT KLANG: Westports Malaysia Sdn Bhd, operator of the country’s busiest port, still projects growth in its business for next year despite the gloomy global economy.

Its chief executive officer Ruben Emir Gnanalingam said despite the global economic crisis and news of the European economy in recession, consumption worldwide was still increasing.

Therefore, he said, Westports’ cargo volume was still increasing due to the rising demand especially in India and African and West Asian countries.

“Although the economic outlook is not so good for most of the world, consumption is still increasing and cargoes need to move from the countries that manufacturing them to countries that consume them.

“So there is still a lot of growth,” he said in an interview.

Westports’ core business is container operations and its major clients are CMA CGM group, China Shipping and United Arab Shipping Corp.

Ruben said Westports was confident of handling seven million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of container cargo this year.

“I think we have already hit six million TEUs this week, so with one more million TEUS before year-end, I think we should be almost touching it,” he said.

He said last year, Westports handled 6.4 million TEUs and in 2010 it handled 5.5 million TEUs.

However, Ruben said, Westports hoped to achieve eight-10 million TEUs once its additional 300m berth and 600m berth were completed by 2014.

“Currently, the port handles about 70% of the overall container volume at Port Klang.

“Westports’ businesses are divided into two parts namely local cargo – that is the handling of Malaysian imports and exports and transhipment cargo on international business,” he said.

He said currently the transhipment cargo contributed about 70% to the port’s revenue.

Westports is one of two ports in Port Klang with over 4,000 employees and the operator is expected to increase to 4,400 employees by 2014. — Bernama



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