Port authority ensures no monopoly in stevedoring services

Wong speaking to reporters.

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By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, Nov 2: Kuching Port Authority (KPA) will break the monopoly of stevedores and remained status quo to allow open market for the consignee service.

According to Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei, Kuching Port Authority (KPA) has made the decision following its closed-door meeting with the industry players yesterday.

“KPA decided to remain status quo like before and for the time being, allows other consignees who can handle the loading and unloading of cargo at the port to do the job,” he told a press conference at his office at Jalan Tun Jugah, here, today.

Wong said the issue came to light after a media report last week, where a company called KPA Port Sdn Bhd was given the sole authority to provide the stevedoring services for KPA.

He added that before KPA Port was given the sole authority in 2016, there were six other service providers.

“The issue attracted my attention further as monopolisation doesn’t materialise until last month, when KPA Port demanded all the customers (consignees) to sign a three-year agreement for them to provide the services.”

Touching on yesterday’s meeting, Wong said KPA general manager Robert Lau had explained (in the presence of KPA Port managing director Nobel Pang) to other consignees on their rationale for appointing KPA Port.

“KPA said that they give appointed KPA Port because they want to control and ensure that their services are getting better. It is also to meet the KPI (key performance index) for speed of loading and uploading, as well as the effectiveness in discharging the goods of the port.

“They (KPA) also showed that the price was not higher than before but unfortunately, I am not convinced with that,” the Padungan lawmaker said.

Wong reasoned that whatever target KPA has set to increase the service of the port, they have to include the industry players.

“I always believe that competitiveness is the key to increase the effectiveness and the key to ensure the price for the market, like the telecommunications industry.

“The market will detect the effectiveness and the quality if there is healthy competition. I insist on an open market and not a monopoly,” he explained.

Secondly, he said the price of the services is very important because it will be part of the price of imported goods such as corn, fertiliser, timber logs, raw materials and other dry bulk.

Wong expressed concerns that the customer will suffer in the end, having to bear all the cost.

“I have also shown and prove to them that for the time being the cost might be the same at RM15 per tonne but eventually it has been stated in the service agreement prepared by KPA Port, for the execution of all the consignees, clearly stated that for the cost of receiving, sorting and delivery (RSB) for the time being is at RM2 but increase to RM3 in
2020, RM4 in 2021, RM5.10 in 2022 and to RM6.25 in 2023.

“I disagree with the prices presented to me by KPA yesterday as the amount will be burdensome to the consignee and at the end of the day, the burden will be transferred to the end consumer.”

Wong expressed content that KPA has agreed to maintain status quo and that the services will be an open market for all.

Wong said that he will withdraw his report on the matter and will inform Malaysia Competition Commission (MvCC) as KPA agreed to maintain the status quo to maintain the openness of the market for competition for all. — DayakDaily