Westports sees slower container growth in 2015

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KUALA LUMPUR (Apr 29): Westports Holdings Bhd expects container traffic growth at the port to slow to 5% to 10% this year, compared with a 12% increase to 8.4 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) in 2014.

Its chief executive officer Ruben Emir Gnanalingam said nevertheless, it is still expecting positive growth, supported by its three key shipping clients — CMA CGM, China Shipping Container Lines and United Arab Shipping Co — which form the Ocean Three Alliance (O3).

"We expect to handle over 9 million TEUs this year," he told reporters after the group's annual general meeting today.

Since O3's services commenced on Jan 17 this year, Westports has seen an increase in container volume in the first quarter of this year, said Ruben.

"With the expected growth in container volume, 2015 is shaping up to be another year of record container volume for Westports.

“We will continue to invest in terminal expansion to support and also capitalise on container shipping companies’ requirements, as they in-turn invest in ever larger container vessels in order to reduce slot cost," he added.

When its Container Terminal 8 is completed in 2017, Westports will be able to accommodate more and larger container vessels, raising its container handling capacity to 13.5 million TEUs.

Westports shares closed up 0.47% at RM4.30 today, bringing it to a market capitalisation of RM14.59 billion.