KUCHING: The Sarawak Manufacturers Association (SMA) is calling on the Kuching Port Authority (KPA) to benchmark itself against other international ports.
SMA president Joseph Lau said KPA should also request more funds from the government to upgrade its computer system immediately, as well as the Senari port facilities.
“Our association members are suffering from the increase in cost price due to the congestion at Kuching Port. The shippers had to offset their cost of expenses by charging the importers and exporters more.
“This badly affects the manufacturers in the Kuching region. For example, the import of aluminium cans for food manufacturing, per 40-foot containers cost an extra USD200 per container.
“Although the cost of canned food will rise, we cannot transfer the cost to the end-users as we need to compete with other national and international brands.”
He added that local manufacturers needed to maintain the quality and value of their products.
“All these unnecessary costs will only increase the burden of Sarawakian entrepreneurs and discourage them from starting up their business.
“As a whole, Sarawak will lose out on the competitive advantage and young entrepreneurs will move elsewhere to start their business. There will also be an increase in unemployment that could lead to the downsizing of the manufacturing industry.”
Lau said SMA would like to suggest that the Sim Kheng Hong port be used temporarily to solve the container congestion problem.
“We hope that the state government can look into the needs of the industry and provide assistance to Sarawakian entrepreneurs.”