Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook (second from right), Malaysian Investment Development Authority deputy chief executive officer Arham Abdul Rahman (far left), C. Steinweg Group chief executive officer Ulf Boll (second from left) dan Netherlands ambassador to Malaysia Karin Mossenlechner (far right) posed for a photo after the launch of the company’s warehousing at Port Klang Free Zone. [BERNAMA]

PORT KLANG, Selangor: The government plans to loosen the criteria of Approved Permits (AP) on transhipment goods to make Malaysia's seaports more competitive, said Transport Minister Anthony Loke.

"Transshipment of mineral water here requires APs. I don't understand why we have such regulations that hamper our seaports' competitiveness as transhipment hubs.

"We're looking to remove (AP) regulations to facilitate easier transshipment and put in better mechanism to keep a check on smuggling," he told reporters after launching C. Steinweg Logistics (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd's integrated commodities hub at Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) today.

Also present were the Netherlands Ambassador to Malaysia Karin Mossenlechner, C. Steinweg group chief executive officer Ulf Boll and Malaysia Investment Development Authority deputy chief executive officer Arham Abdul Rahman.

Under the previous policy, Loke noted that every vehicle entering the country required APs even though the cars are not for the local market.

He said this made the local seaports uncompetitive with many transshipment activities in the region having moved to Singapore.

After discussion with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti), Loke said APs were no longer needed for vehicles that are being transhipped at the local ports.

He confirmed that MITI had exempted the AP requirement for vehicles transshipped from April 1.

At the press conference, C. Steinweg global chief executive officer Ulf Boll said the company’s latest investment to develop 610,000 sq ft, which include 270,000 sq ft of warehousing at PKFZ amounted to RM168 million for Phase 1.

Phase 2, which will see development of the remaining 538,000 sq ft, is set to take off in accordance to market response.

C. Steinweg is a longtime investor in Malaysia, having first set up its business at Johor Port Terminal 1 in 2004 and then, at PKFZ since 2009.

Last year, the company became the first London Metal Exchange operator to list its own built-and-operate warehouse in Johor Port Terminal 2.

"We're growing our name in handling packed hazardous and non-hazardous," said Boll.

Besides warehousing and distribution, C. Steinweg Logistics offered one-stop value-add services such as repacking of chemicals and plastics.

Asked what had persuaded C. Steinweg to further invest here, Boll said Malaysia offers high-skilled work force, good water and land connectivity and established ecosystem to support its business.