Saturday, 04 Apr 2020
BUSINESS
23/03/2020 06:49 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 -- The Federation of Malaysia Freight Forwarders (FMFF) has requested for clearer directions and guidelines from the government as to whether the logistics services, which includes transport and warehousing services, are deemed as essential services.

President Alvin Chua said there have been so many contradicting statements, media statements and guidelines issued by different ministries that the federation cannot properly answer to or advise its members whether they can operate or otherwise.

“The situation is further aggravated by actions and different interpretations by enforcement agencies when they stop our trucks or direct our offices to close,” he said in a statement today.

He said FMFF has written to the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Home Affairs to confirm its status as an essential service as stated in item 12 of the essential services list issued by the National Security Council (NSC), but has yet to receive any replies from the ministries.

“Port Klang Authority is in agreement that logistics services are essential services but the actions of enforcement agencies seemed to suggest otherwise,” he said.

He said trucks belonging to the federation’s members have been stopped by the police at roadblocks and asked to abide to rules which require drivers to have work travel pass.

They are also required to provide proof that they have gone to government clinics/hospitals to be tested for COVID-19, with the necessary endorsement/stamp by the clinic/hospital.

“Drivers/companies also need approval from NSC to transport goods, and only medicine and food can be transported,” he said.

He said following an announcement by the Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob that work travel passes needed to be issued to staff to travel to work, FMFF have written to both the Transport and Home Affairs ministries for approval to issue work travel passes to its members' and staff to travel to work.

“We have yet to receive any reply from them,” he said.

Chua said essential goods only constitute about 20 to 30 per cent of total cargo throughput in the port and goods that are not under the approved list cannot be moved out from the ports during the MCO.

“With other non-essential goods making up 80 per cent of the cargo volume, the huge volume of undelivered cargo would start a huge backlog and be a potential time bomb that would affect port operations efficiency and capacity,” he said.

He said each container that cannot be delivered would incur demurrage charges from shipping lines and storage and removal charges from ports, adding to the final cost of the delivered goods to manufacturers and importers.

Inevitably, Chua said, the end consumer would have to bear the additional costs and manufacturers might face disrupted production schedules and loss of market.

Similarly, exports of non-approved goods cannot be sent to ports for shipment, resulting in cancelled contracts and loss of business, he said.

“Notwithstanding the above, our members would still facilitate clearance and transport of medicine, medical products, foodstuff and any other products deemed to be very essential to the country,” he added.

-- BERNAMA

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