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Recurring congestion at Westports is bad for business

KLANG: Recurring congestion at Westports will lead to unnecessary costs and if allowed to prolong will hamper Malaysia’s ambition to be a reliable logistics hub, said exporters and hauliers.
Checks by the NST Business today showed traffic was smooth in the morning but by evening it had built up at the Customs checkpoint. As it approaches midnight, the traffic had started to ease.
Repeated and prolonged congestion at Malaysia’s main shipping gateway Westports is causing undue financial losses and wasted time for manufacturers and hauliers.
“We would face stock build-up in our factories and delay in shipments to our overseas clients if the containers cannot be loaded on the ship on time,” said Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (Margma) president Denis Low.
“The authorities must ensure smooth flow of goods at Westports Customs checkpoint, at all times, as it is Malaysia’s main gateway to the world,” he said.
“The Customs computerised systems should be user-friendly and more importantly, must have reliable back-up,” he added.
Low said recurring congestion that lasts for hours meant inconsistent delivery and it hampers Malaysia’s aim to be a leading nation in logistics excellence.
“We urge the Customs Department, Westports and the Transport Ministry to quickly resolve this matter to normalcy,” he said in a telephone interview today.
Separately, Association of Malaysian Hauliers (AMH) president Nazari Akhbar this morning said the Customs Department had boosted its manpower at the checkpoint to hasten processing time.
He noted traffic was relatively smooth for most of the day but by 5pm, many trucks and trailers found themselves stuck in traffic where the queue to the checkpoint came close to a kilometre.
“Around dinner time, our drivers were stuck in traffic along the Westports exit route, while those entering were smooth flowing. As we approach midnight, our drivers informed us the queue is moving along faster,” said Nazari.
Association of Selangor Container Drivers president Hisham Bakar concurred with AMH feedback. “Overall, today’s traffic situation at Westports Customs checkpoint is bad but not as bad as two days ago.”
“Repeated long hours of congestion are taking a toll on our drivers’ health. While stuck in the queue for many hours, our members are not able to go for toilet breaks or eat dinner,” Hisham told NST Business.

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