Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) said the harbor is losing massive earnings and major business contracts while waiting for the federal government to close the port privatization deal with Seaport Terminal (Johor) Sdn Bhd.
The delay has paralyzed operations, held back dredging, and prevented the purchase of new machinery, since no action could be taken until the new owner could come in and make all the decisions, said PPSB managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Ahmad Ibnihajar.
He added that the port’s profit had dropped substantially, the big ships could not come because of the shallow channel, and a major deal with a Belgian company fell apart recently as a result.
The privatization effort had dragged on despite the federal government reportedly identifying Seaport Terminal, which also operates the Port of Tanjung Pelepas, as the successful bidder in 2010.
Ibnihajar warned that the port could collapse if the privatization deal did not happen soon, as many contracts for services, capital expenditure, and operation issues remained on hold.
“It is okay for three months, not okay to drag for six months and really not okay for two years,” he told local media.
Photo: The Wandering Angel