15th December 2009, it’s a beautiful morning in Kuala Lumpur and none of us wants to get out of bed. But our instructions are to get ready and at the bus by 8:30 AM. All of us get ready and go to the Coffee House of Hotel Sentral where we are served the complimentary breakfast. The non-vegetarians have no issues but vegetarians like me are again searching for compatible food. Luckily they had a veg counter, along with toasts and juices. We stuffed our stomach and left for the next destination Westport.
Located strategically along the Straits of Malacca, Westports today has positioned itself as the pit stop for container vessels plying one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. Westports is not only a leading port in South East Asia, but also one of the top 5 Ports in the world in terms of productivity. Westports is now a mega hub for both local and transshipment containers. With current total quay length measuring 3.2 kilometers, which includes 5 container terminals, and a potential to build another 4 container terminal, Westports has a capacity of 15 million TEUs.
On arrival, we were taken straight for a PPT presentation. We thought it might be one of those boring lecture series but we soon found out it was not true. The presenter gave us a beautiful picture of the benefits of ports and how it has contributed to success of Malaysia and their economy. This was followed by a stark comparison with Indian Ports and we really could see the inefficiencies and the huge potential India has for developing and gaining from ports. From the discussion, the problems highlighted were government interference, lack of will, current development by private companies only for their needs & lack of co-ordination and integration among the small ports. The presenter highlighted that India has a huge potential and could only benefit if it works towards developing deep water ports of depth more than 15m. We all did agree and some of us got really enthusiastic about the ideas generated there.
After the presentation we were again worried about the veg food, but our host was superb to arrange sambhar-dhal, which was a delight given the lack of veg food everywhere. We thanked our host for the great food and thought the trip was over. But there were more plans. We were taken on a quick tour of the port where we could see the huge ships, the yard where the containers were kept. All this were in co-relation with the operational details we were explained in the presentation.
Finally it was time to bid goodbye. We gave a vote of thanks to Westport and left with the amazing experience to our next destination Simedarby Medical Centre.
Check out the pics of the visit here