CONTINUING its track record of developing industry leading logistics hubs, PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd will soon be building its next - the Bukit Kayu Hitam ICD in Kedah.
The 50-acre truck and inland clearance depot (ICD), located at the 4,400-acre Kota Perdana Special Border Economic Zone (SBEZ) in Bukit Kayu Hitam, will be developed at an estimated cost of RM200mil.
To be completed by 2022, the integrated logistics hub will contain an inland port capable of handling an annual throughput of 200,000 containers, alongside warehouses and cross-dock facilities for cargo consolidation and container stuffing.
The ICD will be developed by a newly-formed joint venture company, Bukit Kayu Hitam ICD Sdn Bhd, a partnership between Northern Gateway Logistic Center Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Northern Gateway Sdn Bhd (NGSB) - the master developer of the Kota Perdana SBEZ - and One Northern Hub Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PKT Logistics Group.
Caring for the frontlines
To improve the competitiveness of Malaysia and Malaysian ports as a gateway for South Thailand exporters and to promote greater cross-border trade, PKT Logistics Group chief executive and managing director Datuk Michael Tio is confident that the ICD will simplify and streamline the logistics operations of shipping lines, forwarders, hauliers and customs clearance agents here at the border.
The ICD, which shall be linked to the Bukit Kayu Hitam Customs, Immigration, Quarantine and Security Complex will be self-sustaining, just like all of the logistic group’s hubs.
Besides the logistics components, it will also contain a petrol station, a multi-storey tower providing office space, rest and recreational facilities, as well as amenities such as a food court, showers and toilets. It will serve as a rest hub for truckers to refresh themselves and prepare for their long journeys, thereby helping to reduce road accidents and increase operational efficiency.
Tio explained, “We understand the daily grind that Southern Thai and Malaysian truckers go through when driving long distances to get to the border checkpoint. Not just that, there is also heavy congestion to enter the checkpoint where they often wait up to three hours to get through.
“Therefore, we want to ease their journey as much as possible by providing all the facilities they need within the Bukit Kayu Hitam ICD, for them to rest and relax. The ICD will bring service innovation to the truckers here, who are the lifeblood of the cross border trade between Malaysia and Thailand.”
Thailand is Malaysia’s fifth largest trading partner globally (second among Asean countries) with a total trade value of RM105.4bil in 2018. Border trade accounted for 60% of this, with a significant portion of it passing through the Bukit Kayu Hitam-Sadao border crossing.
Tio thanks its JV partner in the Bukit Kayu Hitam ICD project - Northern Gateway - and also the logistics group’s major shareholder Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd for giving their trust and support to the logistics group in undertaking the development. He also welcomes the Bukit Kayu Hitam ICD as yet another major step forward for PKT Logistics Group in its diversification plan.
Integrating education into industryPKT Logistics Group’s One Auto Hub in Batu Kawan, Penang and One Logistics Hub in Shah Alam truly represent its mission of building environmentally friendly warehouses that utilise local human resources, engage openly with the surrounding communities and inspire other businesses to positively impact people and communities through its activities.
This is achieved largely by integrating educational institutions, through its education arm Peninsula College, within the corporate environment of both hubs.
The reason for incorporating education institutions into the corporate environment comes from Tio’s firm belief that with sufficient human resource capital, Malaysia can become the next Asean logistics hub.
“Malaysia has all the necessary ingredients of being a regional logistics hub, but we lack sufficient logisticians. By having campuses within our logistics hubs, we are providing industry relevant education to the young generation to grow their careers in the logistics industry which has so much potential.”
Besides that, Tio is also a firm believer in not importing foreign labour to fulfill the industry’s frontline manpower requirements.
Therefore, PKT Logistics Group has implemented a unique award-winning Jom Bekerja Sambil Belajar programme, where students from its college work part-time when they do not have classes, at its warehouse, customs brokerage, IT and various other operational departments. The programme serves to reduce the logistics group’s reliance on foreign labour and allow the students to acquire real life and relevant work skills.
This, he stresses, is only made possible by having students studying within a work or corporate environment such as that provided in its existing logistics hubs.
Preparing for the future
At the Bukit Kayu Hitam ICD, PKT Logistics Group is looking to replicate the proven formula of its One Auto Hub and One Logistics Hub, bringing outstanding soft infrastructure to match its outstanding hard infrastructure.
Therefore, the logistics group is in talks with its close partner Universiti Utara Malaysia to collaborate and set up an educational institute within the ICD, to produce and groom talent and manpower for the ICD and its surrounding industries in the future.
The institute will offer certificates to postgraduate doctoral degrees. In the future, Tio envisions that the institute will become the think-tank of the industry that drives the direction of logistics for Bukit Kayu Hitam and the country.
PKT Logistics Group’s collaboration with public universities is also a corporate social responsibility initiative to leverage the size of the latter’s student enrolment to replicate and scale the industry-academia programmes being implemented at its hubs, thus creating a mass for change in the industry.
Besides the above, it will also replicate its successful and award-winning programme of Anak Belajar Ibu Bekerja at the Bukit Kayu Hitam ICD, where housewives and mothers get a chance to participate in the workforce on a flexible schedule, enabling them to earn supplementary income for their families.
This ensures the people surrounding the ICD benefit from the development through job opportunities, while enabling the ICD to engage the community in a deep and meaningful way. Tio hopes the ICD will help to promote the benefits of vocational and higher education to the younger generation.