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SHAH ALAM: Malaysia has to leverage on its strength to ramp up its logistics services sector with more tools and services via research and development (R&D) towards becoming Asean’s next logistics hub, said Northern Corridor Implementation Authority chief executive Datuk Redza Rafiq.

“The 40 years of evolution of the northern region’s manufacturing industry, which now boasts the production of high-precision and engineering products, has also influenced the logistics industry to evolve in tandem with industry needs.

“Due to this evolution of the logistics industry there, we are proud that about two-thirds of south Thai exports are handled through the northern region corridor gateways such as Padang Besar, Bukit Kayu Hitam and Pengkalan Hulu now.

“And for us to move to the next chapter, we need to strengthen our R&D efforts in this knowledge economy environment that is characterised by technological push and economic liberalisation,” Redza told reporters after officiating the launch of the Asean Logistics Symposium themed “Malaysia – the next Asean logistics hub” by the Centre for Asean Logistics Studies (CALS) yesterday. CALS is the R&D centre of ALC College.

The six-month symposium is sponsored by PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd.

The Asean Logistics Symposium is a joint research programme between the UK’s University of Hull, Universiti Utara Malaysia and ALC College. The symposium will be held from June to December, consisting of a series of 10 labs uniting experts from top local logistics companies with the two tertiary institutions.

PKT Logistics chief executive and managing director Datuk Michael Tio expects the symposium to be able to identify the country’s key strengths and weaknesses to become Asean’s next logistics hub.

“We must move up the value chain. Instead of delivering, storing and distributing goods and raw materials, we must add value to the services such as sub-assembly, re-packaging and procurement services.

“Singapore has been doing this and it can increase profit margins by leaps and bounds,” he said.

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