Westports operational revenue hurt by industry recalibration
Westports CEO Ruben Emir Gnanalingam

The fall is mainly attributed to the 14% drop in container throughput to 2.1m TEUs for the quarter

By NG MIN SHEN / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

Westports Holdings Bhd recorded an almost unchanged net pro t for the July-September 2017 quarter, as lower container throughputs and higher fuel cost hurt revenues at the port operator.

Earnings for the operator at Port Klang fell to RM150.82 million in the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2017, compared to RM151.03 million recorded a year ago.

Revenue, however, was higher at RM492.28 million compared to RM474.41 million registered a year earlier. But operational revenue dropped 6.4% to RM421.19 million against RM449.86 million last year.

The port operator told Bursa Malaysia last Friday that the fall in operational revenue was mainly attributed to the 14% drop in container throughput to 2.14 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) for the quarter.

Local container throughput grew 14%, but Westport’s transshipment segment fell 24%.

“The lower performance in the transshipment segment was due to changes in the container shipping industry, arising from the formation of new global alliances, and reconstituted service offerings and port of calls, as well as mergers and acquisitions (M&As),” the company said.

Westports CEO Ruben Emir Gnanalingam (picture) said the container shipping industry has recently gone through an “unprecedented recalibration and realignment processes which affected almost all major liners”.

“The industry’s recent M&As have affected our container volume handled, especially of transshipment boxes,” he said in a statement.

The company has now transitioned to serving as one of South-East Asia’s transshipment hubs for Ocean Alliance Inc, as well as a port of call for a service under THE Alliance.

On container terminal expansion, the second phase of Container Terminal 8 (CT8) — consisting of a 300m wharf, and supporting terminal operating equipment and facilities — has been commissioned into service.

Construction work continues at the first phase of CT9 — consisting of a 600m wharf — and is expected to be completed by December this year.

“With the added wharf and new fleet of terminal operating equipment, our total container handling capacity has increased to 13 million TEUs per annum,” Ruben said.

The firm has also received an approval in principle to expand the container terminal facilities from CT10 to CT19, in line with efforts to further strengthen Port Klang as the pre-eminent port for the country’s gateway trade, as well as serve as a transshipment hub in the region.

It will now undertake detailed studies and assessments of the proposed expansion, Ruben noted.

Due to ongoing changes in the industry, the company is expecting its container throughput to be lower in 2017 by between 7% and 12% com- pared to the previous year.