To copy is the highest form of flattery. Yet, when the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) opened in November, it boasted an even higher form of compliment. Not only is the 1000-acre PKFZ modelled on the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) in the United Arab Emirates, but also the Dubai-based Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority was awarded a 15-year contract to manage the new complex. After all, the much-anticipated PKFZ project was designed and is managed by internationally acclaimed JAFZA International, the consulting and management division of JAFZA.

Perhaps it is no surprise. PKFZ is the first free zone in the Asia-Pacific to be managed by JAFZA International. The firm has more than 20 years’ experience in free zone management. It has helped governments to develop free zones in Morocco and Djibouti.

Advertisement

Easy co-ordination

An advantage for PKFZ, which is located next to Westports in Pulau Indah, is that it is approved to allow both commercial and manufacturing activities to exist side by side. This means that factories and logistics firms can be located in the same zone to promote easier co-ordination and provide smoother supply chain management.

The first of its kind in Malaysia, PKFZ complements Port Klang’s free commercial zones (FCZ) in Northport and Westport, which provide commercial activities, such as trade, repacking, relabelling and minor assembly work. PKFZ will make it possible for companies to carry out export-orientated finishing work as well as import/export activities.

“PKFZ will be a boost for Port Klang, which is also the country’s national load centre. It will grow overall entreport activity with its one-stop facilities for processing and add value to goods and services before being exported,” says Noel Gulliver, PKFZ general manager.

Moving in

Before the official launch in November, Norwegian oil and gas engineering group Aker Kvaerner had already taken 66 acres – more than 10% of PKFZ’s industrial land – and will be investing $100m to build a manufacturing centre to support oil and gas exploration in the Asia-Pacific region.

“We have had many more successful discussions and are in the midst of finalising agreements with potential tenants,” says Mr Gulliver. “Their businesses vary with multi-national companies, small-medium industries, distribution, value-adding and logistic services registering their interest.”

PKFZ officials are in the process of finalising discussion with five other serious investors to take up another 70 acres, Mr Gulliver reveals. In addition, 10 investors have made enquiries for 14 light industrial units and four companies are interested in office space at the office complex.

A plus is PKFZ’s easy accessibility via road, rail, air and sea. It has established trade links to 120 countries and is connected by major shipping lines to 500 ports around the world.

The project will include four eight-storey office complexes, 512 pre-constructed terrace and semi-detached light industrial units, and 640 acres of prepared industrial land available for lease for investors to construct their own customised facilities. Rental rates are inclusive of on-site utilities, including electricity, sewerage, high-pressure water supply, broadband connection and telephone and data lines.

One-stop centre

In addition to its excellent infrastructure, PKFZ will be a complete one-stop centre that will be equipped with a customs centre, trade offices, forwarding agents and other government agencies, such as health and veterinary services to provide easier co-ordination for products and services to be exported and imported between PKFZ and Malaysia. PKFZ will also have amenities to make it a self-contained community – banks, post office, food court, parking complex as well as on-site customs and immigration facilities.

Incentives available to investors include tax exemptions, export incentives, research and development incentives, 100% foreign equity and 100% repatriation of capital and profits – subject to the usual conditions applicable in Malaysia.