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Port Klang’s largest operator Westports, handling roughly 69% of the port’s container volumes, has launched an IPO to sell a 23.8% stake in the company. Westports will not receive any of the proceeds from the IPO, which is aimed mainly to allow its shareholders which include Malaysia's state investor, Khazanah Nasional Bhd and Hutchison Port Holdings, to cash out part of their stakes. The shares will be listed on the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange from October 18, 2013.

Westports launches IPO

Port Klang, which ranks 12th in CM’s World Top Container Ports saw volumes grow by only 0.4% in the first half of 2013, compared to average growth of 9.9% over the last 12 years. According to Alphaliner, the terminal faces significant competition amidst lower overall demand growth, and as carriers’ alliance re-alignments could lead to a consolidation of SE Asia volumes and put pressure on terminal tariffs.

Westport’s main Port Klang competitor Northport, which handled just over 3m teu in 2012, is gearing up for expansion and investing heavily in new handling equipment. It has six new twin-lift container gantry cranes on order for delivery by 2014. Four of these, with 24 across configuration and capable of handling ultra-large vessels, will be deployed on the new Wharf 8A facility, which has seen a berth extension of 350 m and a draught of 17 m, boosting handling capacity by around 600,000 teu.

In addition, the Port of Singapore (PSA) has unveiled plans to build a giant new port in Tuas in western Singapore with capability to handle up to 65m teu/annum — nearly double PSA’s current 35m teu capacity. It plans to consolidate all container port activities in Tuas in the long term, with the first set of berths expected to be operational in 2022.

In 2012 Westports completed a 300 m quay extension and it is currently building another 600 m of quay line (CT7), half of which is due to be completed by October this year. The final 300 m will follow in early 2014, together with the delivery of seven quay cranes and 42 RTGs to support the new facility.

This investment will take Westports’ capacity from the present 9.5m teu to around 11m teu a year, while the new berths will be capable of handling latest-generation container ships up to 18,000 teu capacities. Beyond this, the operator has commenced a 400-acre land reclamation project that is due for completion this year, followed by the construction of four further berths by 2016. Westports is targeting a throughput of 7.4m teu in 2013 and believes that its container volumes will increase by 7–8% annually for the next five years.