WESTPORTS LAUDED FOR SMOOTH FLOW OF TRAF­FIC

Con­tin­u­ous ser­vice im­prove­ment ben­e­fits all stake­hold­ers, says AHM deputy pres­i­dent

New Straits Times - - Business -

OOI TEE CHING

KLANG bt@me­di­aprima.com.my

HAULIERS and truck driv­ers ac­knowl­edge traf­fic con­ges­tion at Westports has nor­malised and urge con­tin­ued im­prove­ment in ser­vices pro­vided by Westports Hold­ings Bhd and the Cus­toms Depart­ment.

“Since Westports and Cus­toms have put in ad­di­tional man­power at the clear­ance gates on July 23, the traf­fic flow has im­proved. Con­tin­u­ous ser­vice im­prove­ment ben­e­fits all stake­hold­ers,” said As­so­ci­a­tion of Malaysian Hauliers (AMH) deputy pres­i­dent Soo Chee Yeong.

“Mas­sive traf­fic con­ges­tion last­ing for hours at Westports, which is Malaysia’s main trad­ing gate­way, does have an im­pact on Malaysia’s rat­ings in the ease of do­ing business,” he said, here, yes­ter­day.

“If the traf­fic flow is not smooth at all times, it would even­tu­ally af­fect Westports con­tri­bu­tion to Port Klang’s 11th plac­ing on the world’s best sea­port rank­ing,” he added.

Also present were AMH pres­i­dent Nazari Akhbar, vice-pres­i­dent R. Visnu, hon­orary sec­re­tary Chan­dra Mo­han, coun­cil mem­bers Judy Chong and Richard Lim, and ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary Mohd Hanif Ab­dul Ghani.

AMH mem­bers, which rep­re­sent 70 per cent of hauliers in the coun­try, own some 13,000 trucks, mov­ing cargo in and out of sea­ports. Visnu ex­plained that hauliers and truck driv­ers are the first to suf­fer when there is mas­sive con­ges­tion due to lane clo­sure, power fail­ure, break­down in Cus­toms com­puter sys­tem or even in­ad­e­quate man­power at the check­points.

“When there is de­lay in pick-up, there will be un­nec­es­sary charges such as de­mur­rage and stor­age amount­ing to at least RM300 per con­tainer. We are forced to ab­sorb the charges even though it is not our fault,” he said.

“When traf­fic is smooth, our driv­ers can do four or even five trips. But when there is con­ges­tion, as what had hap­pened on July 22, our pro­duc­tiv­ity plunged by 40 per cent,” he said.

“There are usu­ally about 7,000 move­ments a day at Westports. If the traf­fic flow can be fur­ther im­proved, we can move more goods and ev­ery­body ben­e­fits.”

As­so­ci­a­tion of Se­lan­gor Con­tainer Driv­ers pres­i­dent Hisham Bakar, who was also at the me­dia brief­ing, noted that peak-hour con­ges­tion at Westports does take a heavy toll on truck driv­ers’ health and their in­come.

“De­liv­ery of goods is a highly stressed job as we have tight dead­lines to meet. While stuck in the queue for many hours, our mem­bers are not able to go for toi­let breaks or eat din­ner,” he said.

More im­por­tantly, Hisham urge the gov­ern­ment to up­grade safety along the main cargo route lead­ing to Port Klang’s ter­mi­nals — Westports and North­port — where some 50,000 cargo laden ve­hi­cles travel daily along the pot­hole-rid­dled and dimly lit FT 181 route, trans­port­ing goods for ex­port worth some RM500 bil­lion a year.

“We urge the gov­ern­ment to up­grade the safety on route FT 181 to con­struct a ded­i­cated mo­tor­cy­cle lane and in­stall more street light­ing be­cause the cur­rent heavy traf­fic and dimly-lit con­di­tions is caus­ing a lot of road ac­ci­dents and deaths,” he said.

The 17.7km toll-free Pu­lau In­dah Ex­press­way, also known as Fed­eral Ter­ri­tory (FT) 181 route, con­nects Pan­dama­ran in the Shah Alam Ex­press­way to Westports in Pu­lau In­dah.

Since 1995, the four-laned FT 181 is open for pub­lic use.

A year ago, Works Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Fadil­lah Yu­sof re­port­edly said that his min­istry was only al­lo­cated RM240 mil­lion to up­grade five junc­tions along FT 181 un­der the 11th Malaysia Plan (from 2016 to 2020) . He said the gov­ern­ment would need RM400 mil­lion to build a ded­i­cated mo­tor­cy­cle lane and an­other RM8 mil­lion for more street light­ing through­out FT 181.

PIC BY FAIZ ANUAR

As­so­ci­a­tion of Malaysian Hauliers (AMH) pres­i­dent Nazari Akhbar (right) and AMH deputy pres­i­dent Soo Chee Yeong at a press con­fer­ence in Klang yes­ter­day.

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