Staying afloat with e-commerce


Tio (right) briefing Abdul Halim (second left) about the design of a classroom at The Ship Campus in Bandar Cassia, Batu Kawan. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

THE logistics sector has seen about 30% growth in the last two years, partly fuelled by many businesses switching to e-commerce when Covid-19 struck, said PKT Logistics Group chief executive and managing director Datuk Michael Tio.

“Logistics branding improved tremendously during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“People who used to shy away from the industry are now talking about e-commerce and it being a key tool of survivability in a pandemic.

“Every business is adjusting towards operating on online platforms, believing that e-commerce will be the future.

“Demand for those skilled in e-commerce and logistics shot up and such study courses have gained popularity, ” he said after leading a tour around The 12 Waves, PKT Logistics’ integrated logistic hub in Batu Kawan on mainland Penang recently.

With a built-up area of 645,640.82sq ft and measuring 648m long, it is the longest warehouse in the country and the biggest single-storey warehouse in Malaysia.

Tio, who operates four major logistic hubs throughout the country, said the development surpassed what was achieved in the past, which was only about 5% annually.

He foresees more of such warehouses being set up locally as many large corporations were migrating from Singapore.

“Logistics contribute about 4% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) valued at about RM380bil.

“We foresee the sector to expand and contribute up to 6% to the GDP in the next five years.”

Tio added that with the sector emerging in importance, more logisticians would be needed to boost local employment and woo foreign investors to seek higher value warehousing services here.

“Logistics sector contributes to about 8% of Singapore’s GDP, but their increasing cost of space has led to many larger corporations migrating their warehousing to Malaysia.

“Malaysia is taking over Singapore to become the next logistics hub.

“The main challenge now would be cutting cost and increasing efficiency through use of technology and smart systems.

“Malaysia is in a strategic location between the east and west of the world, and so the industry needs to strive and be aggressive towards going global, ” he said.

Earlier, Tio led Penang trade and industry, and entrepreneurial development committee chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Hussain to The Ship Campus, which houses Peninsula College next to The 12 Waves.

Tio said as PKT continues being a holistic provider for logistics from air, land to sea, the education institution would produce skilled students with hands-on experience in managing logistics from just next door.

“Many multinational companies have yet to see Malaysia as a regional hub as we are perceived as incapable.

“With current upgrades and certified graduates being produced, we will showcase that domestic companies locally can now compete, ” he said.

Tio said the campus, which can cater to about 4,000 students, is aiming to produce 1,000 graduates each year.

The building, modelled after an iconic cruise design, provides courses ranging from logistics management, business management, accountancy, ACCA, tourism and computer studies, among others.

It is a project by PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd under the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme.

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