Shipping companies will not impose surcharges after computer outage at Senari Port, assures Masing

Masing (seated centre) with officials from his ministry and Senari Port personnel having a meeting with representatives of shipping companies via Zoom yesterday.

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Note of Editor: The story has been updated at 10.20pm to include the names of the shipping companies represented in the meeting.

By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, April 27: Shipping companies will not be imposing surcharges on shippers due to delays while waiting for the unloading of containers as a result of a computer outage which occurred at Senari Port on March 27.

Infrastructure and Ports Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing assured that shipping companies will not be issuing a surcharge while the Sarawak government will make Kuching Port Authority (KPA) a better enabler for the shipping industry.

Following a meeting with representatives of shipping companies yesterday, Masing in a statement today said the meeting was to solve congestion problems at Senari Port due to the computer outage which occurred on March 27.

The meeting was attended by representatives of shipping companies including Shin Yang Shipping, MTT Shipping, AML Shipping, Malaysian Shipping Corporation (MSC) Pacific Selatan Agency (PSA), Harbour-Links Lines as well as Kuching Port Authority and Chinese General of Chamber and Industry (KCGCCI).

“The computer malfunction resulted in congestion of containers being processed by KPA from the normal time of 40 minutes to at least two hours per container.

“This in turn resulted in extended long waits for ships at Senari Port before they could empty and reload their goods.

“This extra waiting time incurred additional cost not only to the shipping companies but to the haulers as well.

“On behalf of the government, I extended my apologies for the inconvenience caused by the congestion due to the computer outage which we didn’t expect. It was beyond our control.

“But as a service provider, KPA is accountable and that’s why, since March 27, KPA has been working around the clock to repair the damage done to the software.

“I gave my assurance to the shipping companies that by the end of the month, KPA will return to normal and traffic congestion will be solved baring other natural disasters and the pandemic,” he said.

Masing, who is also Deputy Chief Minister said several measures will be implemented to prevent the reoccurrence of the computer outage by KPA.

He disclosed that KPA will immediately rectify its computer system and acquire one new harbour crane using its own internal funds while shipping companies will provide their own ship-to-shores cranes on one berth.

Masing added that the Sarawak government will acquire two extra quay cranes to enable three berth operation and four new gantry cranes to replace the current aging cranes as part of the long-term measures to ensure the smooth operations at Senari Port.

Masing also said KPA has been instructed to review its computer system, with backup software, so that there will not be any more traffic congestion both on land and on sea if there is another computer outage.

He added all the long-term measures will require huge funding by the government.

Masing reiterated that the Sarawak government urges the shipping companies not to issue surcharges to shippers because it will have negative spiral spin off economic effects to the public.

He believed the prices of good will then increase and as a result, the public will bear the consequences. — DayakDaily