(File pix) Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azlan Man today officiated the Logistics Integration Programme and the upgrading of the KTMB Cargo Terminal Facility Project here, which is set to increase its cargo handling capacity to over 150,000 TUEs annually. Pix by Azhar Ramli

PADANG BESAR: Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azlan Man today officiated the Logistics Integration Programme and the upgrading of the KTMB Cargo Terminal Facility Project here, which is set to increase its cargo handling capacity to over 150,000 TEUs annually.

Azlan, lauding the project’s RM23.5 million federal funding, spearheaded by the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA), said it would be a major boost for Padang Besar logistic services from 120,000 TEUs annual capacity.

“This expansion project will help to draw more investment into Perlis and more importantly, will create a huge spillover effect for the local economy such as jobs creation,” he said.

NCIA chief executive Datuk Redza Rafiq said the project was a crucial component in the Logistics and Trade Facilitation Masterplan, and was one of the initiatives announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak during the launch of the Logistics Masterplan in April 2015.

He said the beneficiaries were Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) and its subsidiary, Multimodal Freight Sdn Bhd (MMF), as the railway and terminal operator.

“RM23.5 million has been allocated for the construction cost and NCIA, together with the other key stakeholders, are committed to targeting the project completion by end March 2018. We will also report on the updates periodically to the Special Committee on Services Sector, which is chaired by the prime minister himself,” he said.

The upgrading initiatives include the construction of the office building, as well as upgrading works at the container yard and rail tracks for the cargo section plus the container lorries passageway.

“The project is necessary to de-bottleneck the existing congestion issues at the Malaysia-Thailand border areas, as Padang Besar is part of the main gateway to the 67 percent of southern Thailand’s exports that go through the Northern Corridor. It will also help increase the efficiency in handling containers and goods clearance at the border,” he said.

He added that in 2016, MMF recorded an annual figure of 115,877 TEUs for the inbound movement from southern Thailand via Padang Besar. He said there is potential for further growth to tap into the overall 400,000 TEUs of cargo movement from the southern region of Thailand.

Also present were KTMB chairman Datuk Nawawi Ahmad, Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) chief executive officer Datuk Azman Mahmud, Perlis state legislative assembly speaker Datuk Hamdan Bahari, and Multimodal Freight Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Mohd Hasdey Yaakob.

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