Struggling Malaysian shipowners received a boost in the country’s 2014 budget with MYR3bn ($954m) allocated for soft loans to the maritime industry.

In his budget speech Malaysian Prime Minister and Finance Minister Najib Tun Razak said the government would allocate MYR3bn in soft loans under the Maritime Development Fund through Bank Pembangunan Malaysia.

“The fund will provide financing to encourage the development of the shipping industry, shipyard construction, oil and gas as well as maritime-related support activities,” he said. No further details of the fund were given.

The announcement will be a welcome one for Malaysian shipowners who last week called for a government relief fund to provide refinancing for shipping companies affected by the long downturn.

Shin Yang Shipping cfo Richard Ling said it was good move and the government had listened to shipowners concerns.

“Although we have yet to see the details in regards to how these loans will help shipping companies, I hope that it will apply to existing shipowners to utilise this fund for the existing financing packaging,” Ling told the Borneo Post.

“Hopefully, these funds are not only targeting new capital expenditures. It is hoped to also allow those who had capital expansion in the past three years to restructure their financing with this fund.”

In his budget speech the Prime Minister also announced plans to try and improve the country’s logistics sector performance. “To ensure a more efficient logistics sector, the government will formulate a Logistics Sector Master Plan. The plan will provide the strategic direction for the development of logistics infrastructure and supply chain as well as review regulations and laws,” he said.

Source From: Seatrade

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