KUCHING: Hubline Bhd has more than doubled its fleet of vessels servicing the routes between Sarawak, Sabah, Brunei and Peninsular Malaysia due to a stronger demand for cargo transportation.
Chief executive officer Dennis Ling said the company now deployed a fleet of nine vessels to serve ports in east Malaysia, Brunei and the peninsula compared with four in March.
Ling said the energy-intensive industries in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy and other infrastructure-related developments were among the key contributors to the increase in inbound cargo. Hubline had registered an increase in cargo volume of between 10% and 15% in the past several months.
Besides Malaysia and Brunei, Hubline also serves ports in Vietnam, India, Thailand, Cambodia and Papua New Guinea. Hubline operates a fleet of 16 container ships, four break bulk vessels and 15 sets of break bulk tug and barges.
Ling said despite a stronger demand in cargo transportation, shipping freight rates between east Malaysia and the peninsula had remained low as there were many players serving the same routes.
“The freight rates have been stagnant for more than a year now,” he added.
Miri-based Shin Yang Shipping Corp Bhd is another key regional shipping player which also serves the Malaysian ports. Among the smaller players are PDZ and Harbour Link.
Ling said local shipping firms were planning to reduce capacity with the hope to push up freight rates.
At the regional level, he said many vessels were being scrapped and shipping firms were reducing capacity in efforts to drive up freight rates.