BUKIT Kayu Hitam in Kedah is finally restoring its vitality after spending two years in hiatus during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The cargo traffic that traverses through Bukit Kayu Hitam’s Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security complex (ICQS) contributes significantly to the RM105.4bil trade value between Malaysia and Thailand, where the various Malaysia-Thai land borders contribute 70% to this.
Despite the dip in trade activities back in 2019, Malaysia’s leading logistics player PKT Logistics Group decided to buck the trend and invest RM200mil to build One Northern Hub – a 20ha (50 acres) logistics hub right next to the Bukit Kayu Hitam ICQS.
This project houses a service area, retail, education, warehousing and inland port under one sustainable hub. With various world-class infrastructure in place, it will become an economic catalyst for the Delapan (formerly Kota Perdana) Special Border Economic Zone (SBEZ) upon completion starting from the first half of 2023.
PKT chief marketing officer Kuan Eu Jin explains that Bukit Kayu Hitam’s strategic location is a key factor in facilitating southern Thailand exports such as fibreboard, processed food and rubber.
Fuelling confidence for the future growth of cargo movement, rubber glove manufacturer Hartalega has announced a RM7bil in investment to build a factory just next to One Northern Hub.
Spurring business, income levels
One Northern Hub is made up of three parts – Blackwood Complex, Blackwood Forest and an inland port.
“We could just build warehouses, but in the long term, a concept hub brings more value to the land when it creates business, employment and education opportunities,” said Kuan.
Blackwood House’s architecture is modelled after the climatic feature of a Malay kampung house, or Rumah Tiang 12. The entire complex provides parking lots, service area, logistics and maritime institute as well as office spaces and residences.
Blackwood Forest is a logistics hub that provides warehousing services. Meanwhile, the inland port manages north and south-bound containers.
“The projected GDP impact is up to RM843mil per annum. One Northern Hub is here to spur economic activities and improve the surrounding community’s income level,” Kuan added.
Logistics and transport base
Bilateral trade with Thailand is projected to hit RM124bil by 2025 while cross-border trade will overtake marine transport as road transport and cross-border travel become more efficient.
Therefore, having the right infrastructure such as those provided by One Northern Hub will greatly spur the growth in this area.
Furthermore, a modern, comfortable facility will further enhance the desirability of its day-to-day users, especially for truck drivers.
“Besides providing office spaces for local and international freight forwarders and transport companies, Blackwood House most importantly provides a comfortable and convenient working environment, including for our most valued group of users – the truck drivers,” said Bukit Kayu Hitam ICD marketing deputy general manager Victor Ch’ng.
Blackwood Complex will feature PKT’s signature Truckers’ Lounge – the latest iteration of PKT’s existing facilities, which in its latest form is inspired by the Malaysian Airlines Golden Lounge.
Complete with shower rooms, massage chairs and pool tables, this facility offers long-haul truck drivers a comfortable space to recharge before safely hitting the road again.
Part of the hub’s catalytic effect is to attract talents to Bukit Kayu Hitam and develop the area.
“Employers who choose to be based here can provide a wholesome working environment. Blackwood Complex will add a human touch to the Delapan SBEZ by incorporating lifestyle amenities such as food and beverage, entertainment, an educational institute and even a gym,” said Ch’ng.
To attract talents from far and wide, the Blackwood Suite Residences located behind the office block provides 168 units of serviced apartments with studio and two-bedroom layouts.
The logistics firm has also taken into consideration the need for green spaces and will dedicate almost 1,858 sq m (20,000 sq ft) for a lush garden atrium where tenants and residents can socialise, interact and inspire each other.
“This will aid in creating a healthy and vibrant community and workforce to boost productivity and ensure business sustainability, not just for the hub but for Bukit Kayu Hitam,” added Ch’ng.
Enhancing cross-border tourism When crafting the components to be housed in the hub, PKT also sought input from the public on what amenities they desire and one of the most popular demands was parking space for tourists entering Thailand.
Therefore, Blackwood House will be flanked by two multi-storey carparks that can house up to 460 vehicles.
Kuan said this would be a perfect one-stop centre for tourists to leave their cars safely, freshen up, change currency and pick up essentials from the retail shops before they cross the border into Thailand.
“Blackwood complex will have public toilets, a food court, souvenir shops, money changers and a convenience store. Long-haul buses will also be welcome to make a pit stop for food and petrol,” he added.
For sales enquiry, call Victor Ch’ng (012-438 4797) or go to www.pktgroup.com.