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Malaysia's Westports posts 42% rise in Q1 profits

Malaysia's Westports posts 42% rise in Q1 profits
Major Malaysian port operator Westports Holdings put in a good performance for the first quarter with net profit jumping 42% to MYR171.1m ($43.7m) from as ongoing expansion and modernisation of port operations in Port Klang boosted its cargo handling capacity, the company said in a stock market release.

The rise in profits was driven by a one-off gain from a disposal of investment securities, higher container tariffs since November and cheaper fuel cost, Westports added.

Revenue for the port operator jumped to MYR464.7m in the first quarter, from MYR398.7m in the previous corresponding quarter.

Westports handled 2.4m teu in the first quarter. Of these, transhipment volumes rose to 1.8m teu while the group handled 600,000 teu of gateway containers.

Ceo Ruben Emir Gnanalingam said Westports has kick started this year on a positive note, managing a relatively high quarterly container volume of 2.4m teu in the midst of the challenging economic outlook and modest regional economic growth.

“There is also a possibility of some realignment in the container shipping industry next year.

“As a terminal operator, Westports’ state-of-the art facilities currently accommodate the largest 19,000 TEUs container vessels. And to support shipping clients’ requirements further, we have embarked on the Container Terminal 8 (CT8) expansion which would cost a total of MYR1.1bn," Gnanalingam added.

He also said Phase one of CT8 with 300-metre wharf will commence operations by the middle of this year.

Going forward, he said that with the addition of two units of new state-of-the-art 52-metre high ship-to-shore cranes and three units of energy-efficient rubber-tyred gantry cranes to the group’s fleet of terminal operating equipment, Westports would continue to be a pre-eminent regional transhipment hub while accommodating Malaysia’s growing economic, import and export trading requirements.