Future Shapers: Yong Hui of Swift Haulage Berhad On His Swift Journey In Leading the Logistics Landscape

“It’s all about navigating growth and innovation in the logistics industry,” says the Group CEO of Swift Haulage Berhad.

By far, the logistics industry in Malaysia is experiencing significant growth, with the market size estimated at US$27.81 billion in 2024. The projections paint a vivid picture of its ascent, with numbers expectated to soar to a staggering US$35.1 billion by 2029.

Such promising figures underscore the country’s prominence as a key player in the global logistics landscape.

Playing a pivotal role in driving this momentum is Swift Haulage Berhad, Malaysia’s fastest-growing fully integrated logistics provider, which has distinguished itself as one of the contributors to this expansion.

Renowned for its top-ranking status in all major ports in Peninsular Malaysia, the company handles a substantial volume of twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) and offers a comprehensive range of logistics solutions, including container haulage, land transportation, warehousing, container depot services, and freight forwarding.

Speaking to The Peak from his neat and tidy office, which overlooks a bustling scene of trucks, forklifts, and containers, surrounded by the busy hum of daily operations, Loo Yong Hui, the Group CEO of Swift Haulage Berhad, shares his remarkable journey since he joined the company in 2013.

Swift Haulage Berhad | Facebook

“After graduation, the plan was always for me to learn from working in an investment bank,” Loo recalls his early days at Libra Invest. His career began as a Fund Analyst who is now at the helm of Swift, a somewhat unexpected transition from the financial sector to the logistics domain. 

While the logistics industry has often been deemed to be lacking in glamour and an industry that is often characterised by tradition, it’s uncommon to find second or third-generation individuals drawn to it. Yet, logistics sparked Loo’s passion from the very beginning. He was entrusted with significant responsibilities, leading the charge in major acquisitions and fundraising initiatives, laying the groundwork for the company’s rise. “This industry is not a sexy industry,” Loo remarks candidly. 

From assuming the role of Executive Director in 2014 to ascending to the Group CEO position in 2021, Loo has been an integral part of the company’s evolution. “I’ve seen the whole development of the company for the past 10 years,” he says. 

Guided by his father’s (Loo Hooi Keat) wisdom, Loo swiftly navigated the challenges of assuming leadership roles within his company. This father-son mentorship breathed life into the business, infusing it dynamically and purposefully.

“He challenged me to raise funds and oversee company hires, which led me to gather invaluable knowledge. I appreciate the importance of the hands-on experience in shaping my understanding of the logistics supply chain.”

Swift Haulage

Volvo Trucks Malaysia launched the Electric Prime Mover on 11 July 2023 | Swift Haulage Berhad Facebook

The focus of Swift Haulage on asset ownership and service diversification is one of the factors that sets it apart from its competitors.

“Recognising the complexity of the supply chain, we tailor our services, ensuring a diverse range of trucks and service offerings. Our approach is methodical; we grow each segment to a substantial size before expanding further,” Loo says.

“There’s significant cross-selling potential among our clientele that their needs are met efficiently and comprehensively.”

For Loo, technology is important in driving innovation, particularly through digitalisation, which significantly enhances operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

“Digitalisation is not a password of what is already adopted across many industries and logistics.”

However, the real game-changer lies in how their data is leveraged. “With AI tools, the analysis of data can be much quicker,” he asserts, underlining the transformative potential of technology in decision-making and solution provision.

Beyond data management, technological progress is evident in the shift from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles (EVs) and other renewable sources—a notable industry trend to embrace. “Such advancements not only align with industry standards but also position us for a sustainable long-term run,” Loo adds.

“We’re also having new tools, such as equipping all our trucks with onboard cameras, alongside existing technologies like GPS telematics.”

“These tools are very important. It’s about how we use the tools to enhance both the safety aspect and efficiency aspect.”

To differentiate the haulage business in a standardised landscape of transportation costs, he prioritises investment in new, high-quality vehicles from reputable brands such as Mercedes-Benz and Volvo

Investing in new vehicles yields significant advantages, particularly in terms of fuel efficiency. “A new truck guarantees a fuel efficiency of at least 2.5 kilometres per litre, compared to potentially lower efficiency with secondhand or beacon trucks. Moreover, by adhering to manufacturer-recommended service intervals, such as the 55,000-kilometer mark for Mercedes-Benz trucks, we can minimise downtime and enhance operational uptime.”

“That’s where we keep our cost down through productivity. By not exactly bringing down the cost but increasing the productivity,” says Loo.

With a fleet of over 1,500 prime movers, Swift adeptly navigates a wide range of cargo demands, spanning from large containers to smaller loads. Keeping a keen eye on market trends, particularly the surge in B2C transactions and e-commerce, Loo understands the importance of strategically aligning the business to accommodate evolving customer preferences.

“While our current focus remains on servicing primarily B2B clientele, including modern trade outlets and local mom-and-pop shops, our long-term strategy involves expanding our network to directly engage with consumers,” adding that changes are constant. 

Loo Yong Hui, the Group CEO of Swift Haulage Berhad

Reflecting on Swift’s transformation over the past decade, the most crucial lesson he learned about strategic planning and execution in the logistics industry is the importance of agility and adaptability.

He can’t deny that the pandemic brought about seismic shifts in the logistics landscape. Yet, it also led him to realise the substantial changes in how companies manage their inventory and logistics operations.

“Previously, companies favoured a ‘just-in-time’ approach, by minimising inventory to reduce costs. Now, the pandemic has prompted a shift to a ‘just-in-case’ mindset. Manufacturers and trading companies have begun stockpiling raw materials and finished goods to mitigate disruptions,” Loo explains.

In response to these shifts, his current emphasis is to bolster the warehouse presence to further enhance its logistical capabilities. “Over the years, we’ve made strategic investments in land banks, and now, we’re seizing the opportunity to expand our warehouse infrastructure.

“In 2022, we completed a significant warehouse spanning approximately 780,000 square feet, and this year, we’ve added another one covering about 270,000 square feet. Additionally, we’ve secured prime locations such as Westport, and we’re in the process of acquiring another warehouse in Penang.”

Swift Haulage

Loo Yong Hui, the Group CEO of Swift Haulage Berhad

In the pursuit of goals and broadening the business impact, Loo stresses the need for a shift in mindset. It’s not just about providing a service; it’s about becoming a solutions provider. The days of merely providing transport and warehousing services are gone. These services alone are no longer sufficient in today’s world. What is needed are comprehensive solutions.

“Our key goals and strategic objectives for the near future revolve around implementing sustainable practices, particularly in what we term as Green Logistics Solution,” Loo elaborates.  

In addition to sustainability, Swift aims to become a leader in sustainable logistics and innovative solutions provision. 

“We firmly believe that green logistics is not just a passing trend but a permanent fixture.” 

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