PORT KLANG CELEBRATES OVER 100 YEARS OF BEING MALAYSIA’S PREMIER PORT
From 23rd – 25th September 2011, Port Klang celebrated its 110th year of existence as one of Southeast Asia’s top ports with a 3-day extravaganza. Themed “Celebrating Over 100 Years Of Port Klang”, the celebrations were held to commemorate Port Klang’s rich history and development. Starting out as a small coastal port, Port Klang (then Port Swettenham) was officially opened to traffic on 15th September 1901. From its inception, it had always been earmarked as the Federated Malay States’ main port, and has remained true to its mandate ever since. Today, Port Klang is the top 13th container port in the world, with links to more than 600 ports in 180 countries over 6 continents.
Launching The Celebrations
Spearheaded by Port Klang Authority (PKA), the official launch of the celebrations was held in conjunction with an appreciation high tea, to which PKA invited over 1,500 of its business partners and associates, as a gesture of thanks for their support of the port over the years. It was officiated by Ministry of Transport Secretary-General, Dato’ Long See Wool, who also officially launched PKA’s coffee-table book (CTB) entitled “Port Klang: Malaysia’s Maritime Marvel” at the same event. The 120-page CTB chronicles Port Klang’s journey from its humble beginnings as a simple railway port to becoming a world-class international port. It also aims to enlighten readers and prospective visitors about the port’s facilities and onward drive into the future. Copies of the CTB were formally presented to high-ranking representatives from the port’s terminal operators Northport and Westports, various industry associations and cruise terminal operator Glenn Marine Group (Asia). The official ceremonies culminated with PKA giving charitable contributions to various organisations including orphanages and old folks (assisted living) homes as well as setting up medical and education funds.
The celebrations came at an opportune time as Port Klang surges into the future with an optimistic outlook. Despite the bearish global economic situation, Port Klang’s container throughput remained mostly unaffected, standing at a record-breaking 6.38 million TEUs as of August 2011, according to PKA Chairman Dato’ Dr Teh Kim Poo at a press conference during the launch. Dato’ Dr Teh also said that given current throughput levels, Port Klang will handle an estimated 9.2 to 9.6 million TEUs by the end of the year, a significant increase from 2010’s throughput of 8.9 million TEUs.
A Fun Day For The Family
The festivities kicked into high gear the next day with an outdoor carnival at Tanjung Harapan (the Esplanade) and at Port Klang itself. From 8am – midnight, the public was invited to and feted at an activity-packed, fun-filled “open day”. Hundreds of visitors thronged the Esplanade carnival site, with some taking part in various competitions organised by PKA, including fishing, a kids’ colouring contest, water sports as well as karaoke. Others did their part for the community at the blood donation programme or visited booths set up by various government agencies and public utility companies.
Aside from the activities at Tanjung Harapan, harbour cruises to both of Port Klang’s container terminals, Northport and Westports, were arranged from the conventional terminal at Southpoint. Dato’ Dr Teh reported that in excess of 10,000 people lined up for these cruises, requiring additional cruises and time extensions to the schedule. The public was also given the rare opportunity to go on a 2-hour guided bus tour of Northport. In addition, PKA arranged a career seminar for students of school-leaving age from selected schools around the area. The seminar featured talks from representatives of various maritime-related agencies and companies detailing the career options available in and around Port Klang, and was held at the Westports Auditorium.
Towards the evening, the public was treated to various sights and shows, including an antique bike parade, boat/yacht floats by the sea, a magnificent fireworks display, live band shows and a singing competition.
Rounding It Up
The festivities were capped off by a charity golf tournament on Sunday, followed by the closing ceremony. Held at the 150-acre, 18-hole seaside Port Klang Golf Resort, located opposite the Esplanade, the tournament was open by invitation only and completed in time for lunch. The closing ceremony also featured a press conference, during which Dato’ Dr Teh unveiled PKA’s plans to open a new port terminal in 2012.
The celebrations were a success from every aspect, introducing many people to the facilities and potential of Port Klang and enabling the public to share in commemorating Port Klang’s successes over the years, as well as to wish it well for the next 100 years to come.