Malaysian port operator Westports Holdings Berhad (Westports) revealed that its container operations achieved another record-breaking year by handling 9.95 million TEUs in 2016, an increase of 10% over the previous year’s 9.05 million TEUs.
The company said that the continued strong growth of transshipment containers supported the overall growth.
Gateway volume complemented by achieving much-improved growth in the latter part of the year as Westports continued to facilitate domestic economic activities. The volume of laden export containers increased by 6% in 2016 while laden import containers grew more moderately by 1%, according to the port operator.
“Over the course of 2016, Westports has also benefited from shipping clients’ ad-hoc handling requirements as they introduced larger vessels into their existing container shipping services,” Ruben Emir Gnanalingam, Chief Executive Officer of Westports, commented.
“Westports has grown tremendously over the last two decades by supporting our shipping clients’ regional transshipment requirements and facilitating domestic economic activities. The impending realignment in the container shipping industry this year will result in a lesser number of but significantly larger alliances. As these larger alliances optimise their network and services, they would also optimise their port of calls and services,” Westports’ CEO added.
Furthermore, conventional throughput in 2016 increased by 15% to 11.8 million tons as Westports handled a higher volume of dry bulk commodities. Breakbulk tonnages coming through the port for domestic applications and economic activities have also increased. In addition, bunker operations contributed to the improved throughput at the liquid bulk facility.
Both container and conventional operations contributed to the group’s improved financial performance for 2016. The firm’s gross profit went up by 12% to MYR 991 million (USD 222.7 million) in 2016 from MYR 882 million posted in the previous year. In addition, Westports’ operational revenue rose by 14% to MYR 1.8 billion in 2016 from MYR 1.6 billion seen in 2015.
In mid-2016, the group completed the Container Terminal 8 (CT8) Phase 1 expansion. The latest CT8 Phase 2 expansion is on schedule, and the additional 300-meter wharf facility is expected to be completed by mid-2017. By then, Westports would have taken delivery of additional ship-to-shore (STS) cranes and also rubber tyred gantry (RTG) cranes. Together with the added wharf facility, these additional terminal operating equipment would enhance Westports’ total container handling capacity to 12.5 million TEUs per annum, the port operator explained.
The latest facility expansion, the Container Terminal 9 (CT9) Phase 1, commenced in the second half of 2016 due to high utilisation of existing container terminal facilities at Westports. The CT9 expansion will entail the construction of a 600-meter wharf and additional equipment such as STS and additional RTG cranes. The CT9 Phase 1 is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
“The record container volume handled and active terminal utilisation of the recently completed CT8 Phase 1 facilitated the need to commence with CT9 Phase 1 expansion to meet the future requirements of our shipping customers and also raise the overall terminal handling capacity at Port Klang,” Gnanalingam further said.