Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/25/2012 -- Two forces appear to be pulling the Malaysian freight sector in different directions this year. On the downside, the world economy remains somewhat troubled, and global demand has weakened. This means that Malaysian GDP and foreign trade growth is slowing down in 2012 compared to 2011. BMI predicts GDP growth at 3.3%, down from 5.1% last year, for example. But on the upside, the country's major ports (Port Klang and Port Tanjung Pelepas), along with land-based freight transport modes and air freight, all look like continuing to outperform relative to GDP for a variety of reasons. These include greater reliance on intra-Asian and local trade, the impact of fairly aggressive capacity expansion programmes and relative success in the management of corporate partnerships. As a result of these countervailing forces, we are holding our main projections unchanged compared to our last quarterly report.
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Headline Industry Data
- The real value of Malaysia's total trade will rise by a predicted 3.4% in 2012, a slowdown on the estimated 4.5% expansion experienced in 2011.
- Total cargo volume handled at Port Klang will rise by 7.7% to 197.70mn tonnes in 2012, while volume at the Port of Tanjung Pelepas will rise by a slightly higher 8.2% to 130.09mn tonnes.
- Rail freight volume is projected to rise 6.6% to 5.83mn tonnes in 2012 and to average 6.4% annual growth in the five year period to 2016.
- Air freight volume is set to grow by 3.9% to 1.37mn tonnes in 2012, up on the 2.7% growth rate achieved in 2011.
Key Industry Trends
Big Transport Infrastructure Investments On The Way
Government officials say planned infrastructure investments now stand at US$70bn, and as Malaysia's population is becoming more urban, so it is becoming necessary to improve transport links in Kuala Lumpur and other densely populated areas. There are plans for seven new toll highways, the privatisation of Penang port, a freight railway and various integrated public transport schemes.
China's 'Railway Vision' May Be Delayed
China's ambitious plan for a vast railway network linking Kunming via Thailand and Malaysia all the way through to Singapore may be facing some difficulties and delays, according to reports in March. It was assumed that Chinese companies and technology would lead the way, with generous funding from Chinese state banks. But following the replacement of China's rail minister in the wake of a corruption scandal, Thailand has signalled it wants to cap Chinese involvement in building its high-speed rail network. Malaysia's Chinese-backed double-tracking programme has also run into some local political obstacles. The result is that the ambitious project may take longer to achieve.
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