KPA urged to bear costs and fees incurred by computer system breakdown, malfunctioning equipment

Matthew Chen

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KUCHING, April 29: Kuching Port Authority (KPA) should assume responsibility for the additional costs and fees incurred as shipping companies, importers, exporters, merchants and the public should not become victims of the port’s problems notably the months-long computer system breakdown and malfunctioning equipment that had led to serious delays in operations and services along the chain.

This is the opinion of Kuching Chinese Importers and Exporters Association (KCIEA) former president Datuk Matthew Chen who pointed out that the problems at KPA had greatly increased the operating costs of shipping companies and affected delivery of goods to merchants, clients and industries.

“The issue has affected the import and export vessels from entering the dock to load and unload containers, leaving vessels to wait for at least five to seven days or even longer.

“In addition, the KPA’s terminal crane equipment for loading and unloading containers often malfunctioned and cannot effectively be put into operation, which leads to more serious delays,” he said in a statement today.

These critical problems, Chen continued, thus forced shipping companies to impose additional fees on shippers or importers in order to compensate for their loss in time and increased operating costs.

“Moreover, the Sarawak Association of Maritime Industries has also decided to impose additional fees on importers and exporters in a way to pressure KPA to improve their service efficiency and cargo loading and unloading equipment,” he added, while suggesting that KPA also absorb these surcharges.

Noting that Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing Jemut had apologised and admitted that these issues arose due to KPA, Chen emphasised that KPA and the Sarawak government must take immediate measures to resolve pertinent problems as KPA is an important facility for economic development in this region.

“They must not allow operating equipment to fail frequently and computer systems to break down for so long.

“Most of Sarawak’s economic development is dependent on imports because Sarawak is not a highly industrialised zone. Therefore, effective port service is a very crucial infrastructure for Sarawak that serves as the driver to prosper Sarawak’s economic development,” he stressed.

Chen also urged KPA to immediately procure new terminal crane equipment and create a backup computer system to ensure effective service delivery.

“I hope that the relevant authorities can solve the problems efficiently and effectively as soon as possible.

“At the same time, we don’t want to see our society have a culture of ‘just apologising and everything is solved’. We need to take responsibility by resolving the matter after an apology,” he added. — DayakDaily