Chong: Unfair for public to shoulder losses caused by Kuching Port Authority’s flaws

Chong showing the notices released by shipping companies to increase charges for shipping containers.

KUCHING, April 17: It is most unfair for end consumers and exporters to bear the consequences of Kuching Port Authority (KPA)’s computer system outage which resulted in delayed schedules and vessel turnarounds at the port.

Because of this, Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen said, all shipping companies have announced the incurrence of additional charges to both import and export containers.

“Based on the port’s official statistic in 2019, KPA handled a total of 240,000 TEU (20-footer container unit). With this statistic, the average unit of 20-footer container handled by KPA in a month is approximately 20,000 TEU.

“With the current additional charge of RM300 per TEU, the additional charges amount to RM6,000,000 per month, RM72 million additional charges per year.

“Though these charges are on importers and exporters, the final impact of the increased charges will ultimately be transferred to and borne by the local consumers and exporters,” he said in a statement today.

Shipping companies namely MTT Shipping Sdn Bhd, Malaysia Shipping Corporation Sdn Bhd and AML Shipping Sdn Bhd have all released notices yesterday (April 16) to inform of the implementation of the Kuching Port Emergency Congestion Surcharge due to severe congestions at Kuching Port leading to increased operational expenses of the shipping companies.

Meanwhile noting the trend of governance that is privatising profits and socialising losses, Chong opined that this is a typical way of Barisan Nasional (BN) where the public is forced to shoulder losses but profits go to private companies.

Thus, he urged for the review and cancellation of port service privatisation. He also called on Infrastructure and Port Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing to clarify this issue and ensure that the public is not the one bearing the losses due to KPA’s mistakes.

“On a larger scale, if the GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) government could not even ensure that the KPA is run efficiently, how are we (Sarawak) to overtake Singapore as boasted by some of our ministers,” he added. — DayakDaily