By JAILANI HASAN
LABUAN: The Labuan Chamber of Malay Entrepreneurs (DUML) has hailed the shipping liners’ decision to withdraw the RM500 Labuan Port Congestion Surcharge per container that has upset port users.
The chamber said the withdrawal effective last April 15 greatly helps the port users ease their financial burden in cargo handling.
DUML president, Mohd Alias Abd Rahman said the congestion fee imposed in November last year by the shipping liners had affected the flow of cargoes into the island due to the additional charges.
As the surcharge increased handling cost, he said sugar could not be sold to consumers on the island at the gazetted controlled price.
Alias said the Labuan port operator, Labuan Liberty Port Management (LLPM) has expanded its container yard operation to outside of the port, thus easing congestion at its yard.
“We feel that the port operator has done its part to ensure the smooth flow of container handling, and negative remarks on the congestion issue did not help resolved the matter.
“One could imagine the additional handling costs being borne by the port users, especially forwarding agents due to the congestion surcharge of RM500 per container,” he said in a statement to Bernama Thursday.
He said the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism convened a meeting on April 12 with the shipping liners, port users and LLPM to find solution to the issue.
“As the shipping liners have witnessed the smooth flow in the port terminal and as assured by the port operator, the surcharged was eventually withdrawn, and it is certainly great for the island’s economy,” he said.
Alias said in the interest of the island’s economy, DUML had invited the Labuan Chinese Chamber of Commerce for a dialogue to resolve the Labuan Port’s congestion dispute and related issues but to no avail, as there was no response from them.
“As corporate bodies and players on the island, we are obliged to help revive the island’s economy after being badly hit by the slowdown in the oil and gas sector, the engine of the island’s economy, and not criticising government’s efforts or the port operation,” he added.
Alias also called on the port users, shipping liners and chambers of commerce to work together in the interest of the island’s economy.