The Covid-19 pandemic with the lockdown orders in Malaysia and around the world has given rise to unprecedented challenges for ports, hauliers and freight forwarders, and urgency must be given to digitalization of processes to overcome these challenges, says the Association of Malaysian Hauliers (AMH).
Soo Chee Yong, President of AMH said, “Digital transformation by logistic players in the import and export industry is important to resolve the turmoil currently faced by ports and supply chains to ensure safety, efficiency and productivity.”
“We have observed that ports and its supporting industries that invest in automation and digitalization have benefited from increased resilience over the past year”.
Congestion at ports
Soo added that both Port Klang’s ports are still congested, especially during the government-imposed Movement Control Order (MCO) and the National Recovery Phase 1 lockdown that is still in force in Selangor, and he urged freight forwarders and hauliers to migrate from manual processes to paperless systems like LinkHaul so that supply chain disruptions caused by lockdowns can be reduced and efficiency at ports can be improved.
“The past year has been very trying for hauliers and freight forwarders. Not only are their business operations disrupted by the pandemic, but they also need to constantly ensure the safety of their workers and compliance to the government-ordered standard operating procedures (SOPs).”
“By harnessing the use of technology where data is real-time and easily accessed via an app that comes equipped with QR code scanning and a secure payment gateway, time consuming and manual processes that require physical contact can be done away with. This will also help reduce the risk of Covid-19 virus transmission among workers”, said See Soon-An, Managing Director of Link Effect (M) Sdn Bhd, which developed the LinkHaul system.
LinkHaul is an online unifying platform connecting hauliers and freight forwarders, that identifies imbalanced trips and recommend return jobs so that cargo lorries do not come in or go out of the ports empty. It was an initiative born out of collaboration between Port Klang Authority, Westport and Northport that was launched in 2019 by then transport minister, Anthony Loke to help reduce traffic congestion caused by container lorries at the ports. Currently, LinkHaul has 83 hauliers and freight forwarders as active users.
Reaping the benefits
Some logistic players are already reaping the benefits from investing in digitalization. Robyn Wong, Director of freight forwarder, Ability Scope Sdn Bhd said LinkHaul has helped saved as much as 90 percent of processing time for their day-to-day cargo operations.
She sees the e-consignment note feature in LinkHaul as particularly helpful during these trying times of the pandemic, as it helps reduce the risk of Covid-19 virus transmission among her workers, who previously have to physically sign and stamp the documents which are passed through several hands.
Yeoh Hock Heng, Executive Director of Vertex Mission Sdn Bhd, a logistics and supply chain solutions company, credits the implementation of LinkHaul for its role in Vertex Mission’s ability to adapt quickly to the new normal that arose from the pandemic.
“We are pleased that we were already using LinkHaul’s QR code scanning feature to receive and pick up containers when the pandemic came about. It is fast, easy and contactless and because LinkHaul also comes integrated with Westport and Northport’s systems and as all data is accessible anywhere and in real-time, it has helped speed up our processes by taking only half the time of what it used to be”, said Yeoh.