A Malaysian Maritime Strategic Plans is being drawn up to make the shipping industry of the country remains relevant and competitive.
Addressing the Opening Ceremony of World Maritime Day 2015, held at the national level on the 30th of October, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai told the audience, that it will be more dynamic and competitive in line with global developments and challenges to be presented at the Malaysian Cabinet in the coming year.
The plans was drawn up in collaboration with the Department of Marine and Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA) that covers all aspects including ports and shipyards. This holistic form of a strategic plan also focuses on education and training in order for Malaysia to remain competitive in the maritime industry, according to Liow.
Liow stressed the maritime industry-related needs to train more local sailors to reduce dependence on foreign seamen. As yet, there are about 20,000 sailors; 40% were whom are foreign sailors.
In general, Malaysia is the 67th largest country by total area of land, with land area of 329,847 km2 (127,355 square miles). However, Malaysia is the only country in the region that lays across the mainland Asia and the Malay Archipelago to Tanjung Piai, located in the southern state of Johor, the southernmost continent in Asia. The Straits of Malacca, which is geographically located between Sumatra and Peninsular Malaysia, is one of the most important routes in global trade; accounting 40% of world trade.
The nation waterways covers a total area of 7,200 km (3,200 km Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah 1500 km; 2500 km), according to The World FactBook 2011 and places the country at No. 19 on the world list.
In view of the importance of the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea to the shipping industry, the International Maritime Bureau reported the territorial and offshore waters in the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea remains a high risk in the presence of piracy and armed robbery against ships. Merchant ships were attacked and hijacked in both main routes; hijacked vessels are often disguised and cargo diverted to ports in East Asia; crews have been murdered or thrown overboard at sea; 24 reported attacks in 2014 alone.
For information of the general public, the maritime industry Malaysia is currently ranked 31 on the world list, covering a wide range of services; bulk cargo, chemical tankers, container ships, petroleum tankers, ships transporting vehicles, cargo ships, container, cargo ships / passenger, LNG / LPG freighter, and roll-on / roll-off. Shipping services in Malaysia have interests from Denmark, Hong Kong, Japan, Russia, and Singapore with ships registered in the Bahamas, India, Indonesia, Isle of Man, Malta, Marshall Islands, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Singapore, Thailand, and the United States.
The country’s main port are located in Bintulu, Johor Bahru, George Town (Penang), Port Kelang and Tanjung Pelepas. These ports handles TEU of : George Town (1,202,180), Port Kelang (9,435,403), Cameron (7,302,461) while the terminal at Bintulu LNG (export) and the terminal at Sungei Udang operates LNG (import).
In view of the facts presented, it is time for the country to move forward and aligned itself as a maritime state through the expertise and enhancements coupled with the advantages of the information technology; to secure an immediate economic interests of the country and its sovereignty to be addressed.