Masing apologises for delays, congestion at Senari Port

Borneo Post Pic

By John Isaac

DEPUTY Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing apologised yesterday to industry players over the delays and congestion in Senari Port’s container-handling operations.

In a press statement, the Infrastructure and Ports Development Minister assured shipping companies that by the end of the month, Kuching Port Authority’s (KPA) operation will return to normal and the congestion will be solved “barring other natural disasters and health pandemic”.

“On behalf of the government, I extended my apology for the inconvenience caused by the congestion due to computer outage which we didn’t expect.

“It was beyond our control but as a service provider, KPA is accountable and that is why, since March 27, 2021, KPA has worked full-time to repair the damage done to the software,” he said as reported by Borneo Post,

The statement was issued following a roundtable meeting held via Zoom with representatives of Shin Yang Shipping, MTT Shipping, AML Shipping, Malaysian Shipping Corporation, Pacific Selatan Agency, Harbour-Links Lines, KPA and Kuching Chinese General of Chamber and Industry (KCGCCI).

Masing said the meeting was to resolve the congestion problem at Senari Port caused by the computer outage which occurred on March 27.

He said the computer malfunction had resulted in the congestion of containers being processed by KPA, from a normal time of 40 minutes to at least two hours per container.

This in turn led to extended waiting time for ships at the port before they could empty and reload their goods, he added.

“This extra waiting time incurred additional costs not only to the shipping companies but to the hauliers as well.

“To ensure that the problem will not recur, KPA will acquire one new harbour crane using KPA’s own internal funding on top of KPA rectifying the computer system outage, and shipping companies to provide their own ship-to-shores cranes on one berth,” he said.

He added that as a long-term measure, the state government will acquire two extra quay cranes to enable three berth operations, as well as four new gantry cranes to replace the current aging cranes.

Masing said KPA has been instructed to review its computer system, with backup software, so that in the event of another computer outage, there would not be any more congestion both on land and on sea.

“All of these will require huge funding by the government. In return, the government urges the shipping companies not to issue surcharge to the shippers because it will have negative spiral spin-off economic effects to the public in general.

“The prices of good will increase and the public in general will bear the consequences. I was assured by the shipping companies that they will not issue the surcharge.

“For that assurance, the government is happy and we give our assurance that we will make KPA a better enabler of our shipping industries,” he said.