SEPANG: Logistics and warehousing giant Tasco Bhd will be banking on its strategic partnership with Japan to bring the Malaysian cold chain logistics to greater heights.
Executive chairman Lee Check Poh said Tasco planned to grow its capabilities through the expansion of warehousing and trucking, food safety compliance and technologies to make Malaysia a leader in cold chain and food retail logistics sector regionally.
With the Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corp for Transport and Urban Development (Join) as its strategic partner, Lee said Join could bring its know-how and sophisticated technologies to benefit Malaysia’s quality of food standards.
Join marked its maiden investment in Malaysia yesterday with the acquisition of a 30% stake in Tasco Yusen Gold Cold Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tasco, for RM125mil.
Part of the proceeds will be used to repay loans to reduce Tasco’s gearing while the rest will be used for its operations and expansion plans.
“In recent years, halal products have been highly in demand globally. With Tasco Yusen being the largest halal warehouse and transport cold-chain logistics player in Malaysia, we aim to promote Malaysia and establish a regional halal hub to handle various halal logistics solutions covering sea, land and air.
“This is aligned with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where it will be a major platform to showcase our halal products to the world,” said Lee.
He is also optimistic about the prospects for the second half of 2019, in light of the short-term benefits for Malaysia due to the ongoing trade tensions between the US and China.
“It would be easy for companies to move their operations to our area, and from here, we would be able to enlarge our exports to other countries.
“There would be a lot of benefits for Malaysia temporarily, so we should grab this opportunity to expand our business and stabilise our operations,” added Lee.
Yusen Logistics Co Ltd president Kenji Mizushima concurred, saying that while the escalating tension is a headache for Japan, it was a chance for Malaysia and the region to improve themselves.
Join executive officer Noriyoshi Torigoe said Join hoped to expand Tasco Yusen’s cold chain network with a focus on volume and customer satisfaction.
Asked if Tasco was looking at acquiring other companies in the region, Lee said the group was always looking forward to expanding its business.
The group announced recently that it was acquiring seven parcels of land measuring 6.6ha from Hai San Holdings Sdn Bhd and Hai San & Sons Sdn Bhd in Port Klang. The deal is expected to be completed in three months.
Lee said Tasco has also ventured into food retail logistics solutions in recent years, especially convenient stores and petrol kiosk retail businesses.
It currently serves 2,300 convenient stores, 1,100 fast-food restaurants, 650 petrol stations and 450 pharmacies nationwide.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, who witnessed the shareholders’ agreement signing ceremony between Join and Tasco, said Join’s investment in Malaysia was a statement of confidence in the Malaysian government and the policies in place to promote trade and develop greater infrastructure development.
“I am happy to witness a celebration of economic partnership between two entities from different countries.
“This stands in stark contrast to the trade tensions happening on the global stage. There is room for cooperation, with Malaysia and Japan showing the way,” he said.
Lim hoped that Join’s investment would pave the way for more Japanese corporations to invest in Malaysia.
With the escalating trade war disrupting the global supply chain, Lim said the reorientation of the supply chain in the short term has benefited Malaysia through business relocation and trade diversion.
“The latest approved foreign direct investment statistics for the first quarter this year continues to show encouraging results, as it rose 73.4% to RM29.3bil from RM16.9bil from the same quarter a year ago.
“With these figures, it is no surprise that Nomura has identified Malaysia as the fourth-largest beneficiary of trade diversion from the China-US trade war after Vietnam, Taiwan and Chile.
“These prove the role of Malaysia as a safe haven in the global supply chain,” said Lim.