The North Butterworth Container Terminal (NBCT) at the Port of Penang has been officially named a Free Commercial Zone (FCZ) by the Malaysian government as part of efforts to increase shipping and transhipment volumes.
In a statement, the MMC Group, which the NBCT belongs to, said the Port of Penang is a primary gateway to the Northern region of Malaysia and Southern Thailand and that the terminal is vital to its operations.
The achievement marks the end of an effort that the Port began in 2007 and accelerated in 2018 when the NBCT was visited by the Penang State Economic Planning Unit. The new FCZ includes 10 lots of land covering 83.57 hectares in total.
MMC said it believes transhipment volumes will increase because of the new FCZ and that the Port will capitalise by tapping into traffic between the Bay of Bengal and the Far-East. In the near future, it said, the Port will look to link feeder operators in the Bay of Bengal with mainline operators.
Furthermore, MMC said the FCZ will attract investment to the region and improve the infrastructure local area.
“With the establishment of FCZ in NBCT, foreign companies will be able to use the facilities before exporting their product overseas,” a statement from MMC said.
“This will also benefit Penang Port in the long run through the exempt customs’ duty, excise duty, sales tax and service tax except for certain goods.
“The local workforce and port operations will be much more efficient once the facilities are upgraded; cutting-edge technologies are implemented and introduced to cater to the foreign investors.
“The FCZ operations will commence on March 2021 and this will put Penang on the world map as NBCT will be able to cater activities such as high-tech warehousing and logistics facilities thus spearheading the positive economic growth in the Northern region of Malaysia.”