Flash flooding has caused berthing delays at Malaysia’s Port Klang, costing millions in damaged cargo.

“Unprecedented” rainfall hit Selangor for 36 hours across Friday and Saturday, submerging roads across Malaysia’s industrial heartland and home to the world’s 12th-busiest container port and major South-east Asian transhipment hub.

According to Port Klang Authority (KPA), operations at container terminals Northport and Westports were impacted by damage to access roads.

And, KPA added: “To make matters worse, many port and logistics operations staff were unable to report to work due to travel difficulties.”

The port authority warned of potential berthing delays, since the bad weather had caused a backlog of vessels, with “many more expected to arrive over the coming days”.

In an update yesterday, Westports, the port’s largest terminal operator, said that, due to staff shortages caused by the flooding, productivity had been adversely affected, with some berthing delays.

“The cumulative effects could contribute to a throughput shortfall that hinders the company from achieving the guided single-digit growth for 2021,” it said in a stock exchange filing, noting throughput as at 18 December was 10.12m teu.

One Klang-based timber exporter said the flooding had rendered many residential and industrial areas inaccessible, adding: “Entry and exit roads around our production facilities and warehouses have been closed, and our production has stopped as the plants are not accessible at the moment.”

Elton Tan, manager at Excel-Freight Movers, said the flooding was “very chaotic”, as trucks were stranded and empty containers were “floating around in the depots around the Port Klang area”.

“However, within the port’s terminal area, things seem to be unaffected by the flood,” he told The Loadstar.

“But we cannot say the same for external and surrounding warehouses – many were badly damaged and millions of dollars’ worth of goods have also been damaged by the floods.”

Furthermore, he said, Port Klang had been suffering from vessel delays for several weeks already.

“On average, vessel delays into the terminal can range from two-to-seven days, and sometimes even longer,” said Mr Tan.

“Private jetties that serve tugs and barges are also filling to the brim now, as more and more shippers are trying to cut costs from the crazy freight charges of the container carriers. So now barge freight is also on the rise, due to the high demand in the market,” he added.

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