Possibly as a result, the Intra-Asia segment has gained prominence and “showed continued favourable momentum with growth of 10%, thus raising the trade lane’s contribution to Westports overall volume to 61%”, it noted.
Westports md Ruben Emir Gnanalingam commented: “The container shipping industry experienced major realignment changes in the previous year especially with the formation of new global alliances as well as mergers and acquisitions among the container shipping lines.”
He added: “These changes have adversely affected our transhipment volume, but Westports have transitioned successfully towards serving the new services under the Ocean Alliance. Based on Westports overall improving container volume momentum, we are at the tailend of establishing a new volume baseline, from which we can establish future growth levels.”
Commenting on Westports’ container terminal expansion, Ruben said: “The completion of CT8 and CT9 in 2017 has increased Westports total container handling capacity to 14m teu per annum. The additional capacity is currently accommodating the largest container vessels of more than 20,000 teu that call at Westports and has further strengthened Port Klang as the pre-eminent port for the nation’s gateway trade and also being one of the main transhipment hubs in the region. We are reinforcing Westports role in facilitating Malaysia and the region’s economic development and also trade requirements by proposing an expansion that would eventually double the current terminal handling capacity”.
Meanwhile on the brewing trade war, Ruben warned that “the tariffs currently imposed could affect global trade flows”. He believed however, that “after some initial dislocations, a new equilibrium would emerge, and trade between nations will still be the preferred paradigm for growth”.
Looking ahead, Westports said: “Container throughput is expected to register modest growth rate of low single-digit percentage in 2018.”