The Penang Port Commission (PPC), the port authority for the Port of Penang, was established by law in 1956 as a statutory body under Malaysia's Ministry of Transport. The PPC is responsible for administering the Port of Penang, providing port and ferry services, upgrading the port's development and use, and promoting the port. Since 1994, operations of the Port of Penang and ferry services have been handled by Penang Port SDN BHD under the Ports Privatization Act of 1990. PPC now has a major regulatory role and is the port resource center for the northern region and the administrator of the Free Commercial Zone. PPC also facilitates trade, mediates, and promotes the Port of Penang. The Penang Port Commission issues licenses to harbor pilots and, through the Pilotage Committee, assures the safety of the harbor and handles marine accidents.
The Port of Penang authority is a landlord charged with assuring appropriate land uses within the port and, as lessor, assures that leased properties in the Port of Penang are used only for the purposes outlined in lease agreements. The PPC collects statistical data on Port of Penang activities and provides such information to government agencies and corporate entities, acts as liaison with government and the private sector, and facilitates research regarding port and ferry services.
The PPC also administers the Free Commercial Zone (FCZ) in the Port of Penang. As administrator, the PPC provides fencing and ensures the security of the Port of Penang's FCZ, oversees the zone operator, prepares reports on FCZ activities to the Finance Minister, and assures that Customs regulations are fulfilled.
By amendment of the Penang Port Commission Act of 1955, PPC has also been made the port authority for Teluk Ewa in Langkawi after that port was privatized. The PPC granted a 30-year concession to Kedah Cement Jetty Sdn. Bhd. to operate and collect all fees for Teluk Ewa facilities. The PPC (Teluk Ewa) is a separate legal entity from the PPC for the Port of Penang. However, the management and staff for PPC handle day-to-day activities, and the two ports share the same Board of Directors except for representation of the State Secretaries (Penang vs. Kedah).
Strategically located in the Straits of Malacca on Peninsular Malaysia's northwest coast, the Port of Penang is an important international port offering a range of modern facilities and equipment that handle general cargoes, liquid and dry bulk cargoes, and containers. The Port of Penang is well-connected to its hinterland by road and rail.
The Port of Penang's FCZ was established at the Butterworth Deep Water Wharves in 1996. The 56-hectare facility is dedicated to import and export activities that include trading, consolidation, storage, transshipment, and distribution of goods. The FCZ in the Port of Penang also offers value-added services like cargo break-bulking, grading, re-packing, re-labeling, and transit. The Port of Penang FCZ has links with over 200 ports around the world and, with rail connections, is easily accessible by both international and domestic shippers.
The FCZ in the Port of Penang is located near to government departments, financial institutions, transport companies, freight-forwarding agencies, and a variety of related businesses. Facilities in the Port of Penang's FCZ include a large container terminal, vast storage areas, and warehousing facilities. Automated information systems support efficient operations in the FCZ where users can track cargo in real time via the Internet.
In 2012, the Port of Penang handled a total of almost 29.6 million tons of cargo including about 15.9 million tons of imported cargo, 12.9 million tons of exports, and about 520 thousand tons of transshipments. Port of Penang cargoes included over 1.1 million TEUs of containerized cargo, 627.6 TEUs of exports and 538.1 TEUs of imports. By far, the vast majority of cargo handled by the Port of Penang was containerized cargo (18.6 million tons). In addition to containers, the Port of Penang handled almost 5.1 million tons of liquid bulk, 4.2 million tons of dry bulk, and 1.6 million tons of breakbulk cargoes.
The Port of Penang is expanding facilities and infrastructure. The Port of Penang's North Channel is being dredged to 13.5 meters. A new 600-meter wharf serves the North Butterworth Container Terminal in the Port of Penang, a third access bridge is being added, and the stacking area is being expanded with a new 1500 square meter (16.1 thousand square foot) container storage yard. In the future, the Port of Penang will reclaim about 405 hectares that will be used for container yards and value-added services that will include FCZ activities; warehousing, container freight station, and logistics services; a Distripark and Inland Clearance Depot; a cold storage and Halal hub; and centralized tankage facilities.
In all, the Port of Penang contains five container terminals with 10 berths totaling 1673 meters in length with alongside depths ranging from 9 to 12 meters. The Port of Penang has over 200 thousand square meters of storage available, including almost 50 thousand square meters at the Butterworth Wharf.
The Port of Penang's North Butterworth Container Terminal (NBCT) contains a 1500 meter (4.9 thousand foot) long wharf with alongside depth of 12 meters (39.4 feet). Covering land area of 42 hectares, the North Butterworth Container Terminal in the Port of Penang has capacity to handle two million TEUs per year.
The berths at the Port of Penang's North Butterworth Container Terminal have berth storage capacity for 6600 thousand TEUs, and the container yard has 4400 TEU ground slots. The container freight station covers 2.1 acres and contains 360 reefer points for cold storage. The Port of Penang's NBCT is equipped with 13 gantry cranes with capacities of 35, 40, and 65 tons. It has 32 40-ton capacity rubber tyred gantry cranes, 60 prime movers, and 127 trailers.
The Port of Penang's Butterworth Deep Water Wharves have two berths of 331 meters (1086 feet) with alongside depth of 9 meters (29.5 feet). Its container yard has ground slots for 1500 TEUs, and the terminal has two container freight stations covering a total of 2.9 acres with 50 reefer points for cold storage. The Butterworth Deep Water Wharves in the Port of Penang are equipped with 26 3-ton capacity forklifts, two ten-ton capacity forklifts, eight 16-ton capacity prime movers, and eight 16-ton capacity trailers.
The container berths at the Port of Penang's Butterworth Deep Water Wharves are equipped with two gantry cranes (one 35-ton and one 40-ton), five rubber tyred gantry cranes (30.5- to 30.6-ton), one front end loader with capacity for up to 40 tons, ten three-ton forklifts, 49 trailers, nine 35.6-ton reach stackers, and 56 prime movers.
The Butterworth Deep Water Wharves in the Port of Penang also have breakbulk terminals that handle a variety of cargoes including iron and steel products, refined sugar, bag rice, and manufactured goods. The breakbulk terminal in the Port of Penang has four berths of 715 meters (2345.8 feet) with alongside depth of 9 meters (29.5 feet). The terminal also has 2.4 acres of transit sheds and a 1672 square meter (18 thousand square foot) storage godown.
The Port of Penang's Prai Bulk Cargo Terminal has three berths of 588 meters (1929 feet) with alongside depth of 11 meters (36.1 feet), one inner berth of 154 meters (505.2 feet) with alongside depth of 7.5 meters (24.6 feet), and one dolphin berth of 44 meters (144.4 feet) with alongside depth of 11 meters (36.1 feet).
The Prai Bulk Cargo Terminal in the Port of Penang contains ample storage facilities, including ten godowns covering 5.5 hectares, two buffer godowns of 1.1 acres, and two private godowns covering almost 3.4 hectares. The terminal also has a 4.7 hectare stockpile yard. The Port of Penang's Prai Bulk Cargo Terminal is equipped with a gantry crane and a bulk cargo crane, each of which handling 300 tons of cargo per hour.
In the future, the Port of Penang will reconfigure the older Prai wharf into a modern bulk cargo terminal that will handle limestone, cement clinker, and iron ore. After the work is complete, the Prai Bulk Cargo Terminal in the Port of Penang will have a depth of 14 meters (45.9 feet) and will be able to accommodate Panamax vessels. The revamped terminal will contain a state-of-the-art conveyor belt linked directly to the tenant's property. The Port of Penang terminal will also be connected to Malaysia's Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB or Malayan Railways Limited), the main rail operator in peninsular Malaysia, with capacity to handle two million tons of bulk limestone, two million tons of iron ore, and one million tons of other bulk cargoes.
The Port of Penang's Butterworth Deep Water Wharves have four berths for breakbulk cargoes that include vegetable oils. The Port of Penang's vegetable oil tanker piers with one dolphin berth. The piers have berthing distance of 1000 meters (3281 feet) with alongside depth of nine meters (29.5 feet), and the dolphin berth has alongside depths of eight and ten meters (26.2 and 32.8 feet).
The Port of Penang's Vegetable Oil Tanker Piers (VOTP) have three transit sheds covering 2.4 acres and one storage godown covering 1672 square meters (18 thousand square feet). This Port of Penang terminal has 98 private tanks with capacity for 122.2 thousand tons of oils. This Port of Penang terminal is connected to privately-owned storage tank farms by overhead pipelines. The Port of Penang's VOTP is equipped with 23 3-ton capacity forklifts, eight 16-ton capacity prime movers, eight 16-ton capacity trailers, and two 10-ton capacity heavy forklifts.
New Centralized Tankage Facilities (CTF) will be added to the Port of Penang on Butterworth Outer Ring Road, occupying an area of about 40.5 hectares. The facilities will contain gas-filling facilities, oil and gas storage tanks, drumming facilities, road tanker loading terminals, warehousing for lubricants and additives, and blending tanks for biodiesel fuels. The Port of Penang new facility will be a hub for moving liquid cargoes domestically and in international waters. With a depth of about 13 meters (42.7 feet), the Port of Penang's new CTF will be able to handle vessels to 50 thousand DWT and is expected to have capacity to move 700 thousand metric tons per month.
The Swettenham Cruise Terminal at the Port of Penang receives some of the world's largest cruise vessels carrying over two thousand passengers. The Port of Penang's cruise terminal has four berths of 400 meters (1312 feet) with alongside depth of 12 meters (39.4 feet).
The Port of Penang's Swettenham Cruise Terminal is a three-story building covering a total of 3.7 acres. Its facilities include shops and transportation facilities. The terminal is located within the UNESCO-recognized Melaka and George Town World Heritage Site located on Pelau Pinang island offshore from the Port of Penang. Local cruises available at the Port of Penang cruise terminal include Penang Island day and night cruises, South East Asia Cruises, and the ferry to Langkawi Island.
The Port of Penang offers ferry services link George Town to Butterworth on mainland Malaysia. With a fleet of eight ferries carrying passengers and vehicles, ferries leave the terminal every eight minutes during peak hours. The trip takes about 15 minutes.
The Port of Penang is easily accessible by road through Malaysia's North-South Expressway which extends from the border with Thailand to Singapore. The Port of Penang contains 2.5 kilometers (1.6 miles) of rail tracks connecting the Butterworth terminals to the Butterworth railway station and the national rail grid, Malaysian Railways Limited (KTMB). The Bayan Lepas Airport is a 30-minute, 35 kilometer (21.7 mile) trip from the Port of Penang.
Pilotage is required by the Port of Penang for all vessels except fishing boats and vessels of 600 gross tons and less moving within the port and for ships of over 200 gross tons using private jetties. The North Channel, where vessels can wait for pilot, has a dredged approach channel of 10 nautical miles at a depth of 10.2 meters for one line of traffic. Entry to the South Channel is at the Rimau Wreck Buoy 1.6 kilometers south of the Pulau Rimau Lighthouse. The South Channel approach is limited to vessels of 28 meters height due to the Port of Penang Bridge. The depth of the South Channel is 5.8 meters. There is no specific anchorage area in the harbor other than for man of war, petroleum, quarantine, explosive, and local vessels. Other vessels usually anchor between the mainland and the island, keeping the shallow areas, ferry routes, and berths clear.
The Port of Penang also offers towage services. Operating 24 hours a day, its fleet of tugboats is equipped with fire-fighting equipment. The Port of Penang also has a dredger, a hydrography survey boat, and five pilot boats.
The Bagan Dalam Dockyard in the Port of Penang offers repair for harbor craft and maintenance services for commercial vessels of up to 700 gross tons.
The Port of Penang offers outstanding security services that include 24-hour surveillance of all entry and exit points.
The Port of Penang's Tanjong City Marina is the first port of call for boats from the Indian Ocean, and it is a potential hub for super yachts. Planners envision a marina that is accessible to all yachts using the Malaysia coastline to complement the international cruise terminal at Swettenham Pier. Facilities will be located at the Port of Penang's Church Street Pier, and they will have mooring points for 102 boats or yachts ranging from 10 to 40 meters (32.8 to 131.2 feet).