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Several ports given special exemption to clear non-essential goods during MCO

27 Mar 2020 / 08:13 H.

PETALING JAYA: Several ports in the country will be given special exemption to clear non-essential goods during the movement control order period (MCO).

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong in a statement said the exemption is to clear the said goods to warehouses outside the port area temporarily so they can continue to release essential goods promptly and immediately.

“Freight forwarders and haulier companies will be allowed to move their goods out for 24 hours per day between March 27 and March 29,“ he said.

The ports that will be given the special exemption are Port Klang, Penang Port and Johor Port in Pasir Gudang.

Wee said these ports will develop and implement action plans to immediately expedite the movement of goods currently congesting their warehouses.

He added police personnel will allow for the smooth transit and delivery of all goods, including essential and non-essential goods during the Movement Control Order period.

Wee, however, said that in doing so, freight forwarders and hauliers must adhere to conditions stipulated by the National Security Council on March 18.

He said all export activities will be allowed to continue as it is vital to ensure that supply chains are not severed and countries that need our exports will be able to continue receiving them.

In an immediate response, Federation of Malaysian Freight Forwarders president Alvin Chua told theSun that the move is highly welcomed.

“The government has listened to our grouses and now has provided us with a temporary solution to reduce the burden of shortage of raw materials, cost of storage detention and demurrage at the port,“ he said.

In George Town, Penang Port chief executive officer Sasedharan Vasudevan said importers of non-essential items can apply to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) for exemption to clear their cargo which remained at the Penang Port docks due to the MCO.

He said MITI has allowed exemptions to be applied for some manufacturers in view of a need to clear the congestion at some ports in the country.

He said the situation in Penang remains manageable but he admitted that there is some congestion because some importers were barred from operating under the MCO.

But they can apply to MITI to allow them exemptions, he said.

Also, freight forwarders are allowed to relocate their cargo into temporary holding areas outside of the port before the shipment is surrendered to the importers, Sasedharan said in an interview.

He was responding to concerns raised by the Malaysian National Shippers Council (MNSC) that non-essential goods that have been imported before the implementation of MCO have arrived and they are stuck at the ports and airports.

Meanwhile, MNSC chairman Datuk Andy Seo urged the federal government to allow logistics to continue unhindered and if possible there should not be a need to apply for separate approvals from the Transport Ministry.

“When there is already approval from MITI for companies in the essential list or for transport of fresh produce already deemed essential by the Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Ministry, the transporters should be permitted to move the essential goods using the same approval from these authorities,“ he said.

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