Northport hits record conventional volumes

It handled a total of 4.1m FWTs of conventional cargo in May, a growth of 32% against the same period last year


NORTHPORT (M) Bhd recorded its highest monthly throughput for the port’s conventional cargo business after handling 1,017,332 freight weight tonnes (FWTs) last month, surpassing its previous record of 968,356 FWTs recorded in August 2013.

For the first five months of 2021, Northport handled a total of 4.1 million FWTs of conventional cargo, a growth of 32% against the same period last year.

The most significant contributors for the higher throughput were palm oil (80%), grain (61%), and iron and steel products (29%) which registered sharp growths against the previous year.

Northport CEO Datuk Azman Shah Mohd Yusof said this achievement is a manifestation of Northport’s capability to weather the storm caused by the Covid-19 pandemic which had significantly impacted a wide range of economic sectors and industries both globally and domestically.

Azman Shah said this is the culmination of their transformation efforts for the conventional cargo operations, where they have undertaken various measures to improve their operational efficiency at both terminals, Northport and Southpoint.

“This includes optimisation of storage space and facilities, equipment rationalisation, renegotiation of the contract with vendors, process improvement through system automation and digitalisation, data mining and analytics as well as promoting transformation through talent development and behavioural competencies among our employees.

“All these measures have successfully helped us to sail through choppy waters especially with the operational difficulties, manpower issues and challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic,” added Azman Shah.

He added that the higher conventional cargo volume handled by Northport was to a large extent contributed by the successful handling of bigger dry bulk vessels at its terminal.

He said Northport is now able to offer vessel productivity of 10,000 deadweight tonnage (DWT) per weather working day due to its improvement in processes and productivity.

Consequently, 12 vessels with more than 80,000 DWT displacement have berthed at Northport since July last year.

“Going forward, we will centralise our container operations within one terminal and make space for conventional cargo business to grow in the other terminal.

“This will further improve our cargo handling productivity and create space for the construction of new facilities which will allow us to offer better productivity,” Azman Shah added.

Meanwhile, the Biomass Logistics Hub operation in Northport’s other terminal, Southpoint, recorded a total throughput of 169,281 tonnes since January this year, an increase of 91% against the same period in 2020.

Azman Shah said Southpoint is also expected to see an increase in liquid cargo throughput with new tank capacity build-up in progress and that there is still a lot of life and potential left in the 120-year-old terminal.