BUTTERWORTH, Jan 12 — Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) will spend another RM350 million over the next three years to expand trade in Penang Port through the North Butterworth Container Terminal (NBCT) .
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said PPSB had spent RM300 million two years ago and the additional amount would bring the total expenditure to RM650 million which is expected to boost the nation’s export industry through the port.
“One of the things discussed is for the setting up of a free trade zone as it has been abandoned for some time, but after the takeover by the new government, it has been revived and now we are waiting for the Department of Survey and Mapping Malaysia (JUPEM) to submit the final report to the Royal Malaysian Customs Department (RMCD) before that it is presented to the finance ministry,” he said.
He was speaking to reporters after attending a dialogue session with stakeholders in the Penang Port logistics sector at NBCT here today.
Lim said to upgrade Penang Port to international status, there is a need to expand trade by means of Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd’s (KTMB) cargo services by increasing the volume of trade from Southern Thailand to Penang Port.
“Southern Thailand traders and manufacturers have been sending their goods for export through Penang Port. In terms of market share, it has increased from 60 per cent in 2018 (through KTMB cargo services) to 72 per cent last year, which is the highest percentage in history,” he said.
Lim said in this respect, Penang Port has to ensure that its services are the best in terms of capacity, efficiency and effectiveness in order to meet the demand, and upgrade it to international status so as to attract more foreign traders.
“But there are several issues that need to be resolved and because of this I have set up a committee comprising government agencies chaired by Penang Port Commission chairman Jeffrey Chew and also including Penang Customs Department director Datuk Saidi Ismail.
“The export market is more important as the local market is too small,” he said.