What kinds of growth has Giga Shipping experienced in recent years?
Cheong: In terms of growth for business from West Malaysia to East Malaysia, I think the growth is slow at the moment. For the past few years, we have only experienced 5% to 10% growth in volume, but I think the current volume will maintain for the next year or two.
How do partnerships drive Malaysia’s shipping industry towards achieving best practices?
Cheong: We have a lot of partnerships in our business. We partner with shipping lines, with port authorities, with our vendors, and some of our customers. Of course, our main goal in partnership is to make sure that we achieve the goal of business efficiency. We would like to make sure that we meet our partnership requirements and we achieve what was meant in the spirit of the partnership.
Do you anticipate the growth projections for vehicle manufacturing in Malaysia materializing?
Cheong: I think the growth figure of 40% by 2018 is a very optimistic figure. Of course, it is very good for the industry and it would be very good for Giga Shipping; there would be more cargo for us to carry. If it is materialized, it will be very good for all of us.
It actually depends on the market itself because currently the automotive sales in the market depend entirely on the buying power of the customer. It also depends on the loan facilities by the banks. Malaysian buying power depends on loan facilities. If the situation of the market changes or fluctuates, I do not think we can achieve that 40%. On the other side, if the government, if the banking industry, loosen up their loan facilities, and if the price of cars is reduced, I think this figure can be possible.
What are the differences in the automotive industry between East Malaysia and Peninsular Malaysia?
Cheong: Actually, the ratio of sales in East Malaysia is about 18% to 20% of the TIV (Total Industry Volume) of the market. I think East Malaysia still has room to increase in the near future because they are developing the infrastructure of the states and the overall development of the states continues to grow. We see this in Kuching and Kota Kinabalu, and Bintulu. Also, it depends on the plantation business. When the price of palm oil, for example, increases, then we will see an improvement in the market for car sales and this is very positive at the moment.
The ratio of sales in East Malaysia is about 18% to 20% of the TIV (Total Industry Volume) of the market. I think East Malaysia still has room to increase in the near future because they are developing the infrastructure of the states and the overall development of the states continues to grow.
What are the primary challenges you currently encounter in the automotive shipping industry?
Cheong: I think volume is very important for the automotive shipping industry because we need the volume to actually transport from West to East Malaysia. Currently, in our mode of business, the volume is only from Port Klang to East Malaysia. There is almost nothing shipped from East Malaysia back to Peninsular Malaysia. Of course, another great challenge for us is the port facility in Malaysia. We always face congestion and the facilities in the port are really outdated. As we see in East Malaysia, with the growth in volume from a year back until today, the development of the port and the facilities has not grown in tandem with the market. We are also facing a port which has a draft problem. As the volume grows, we need a bigger vessel, but if we have a bigger vessel, the vessel cannot move into the port on the arrival time, we have to wait for the highest tide. These are all very concerning challenges for us in our current business.
What exciting new developments are on the horizon for Giga Shipping?
Cheong: Our management is very concerned about delivery quality. We have invested seriously into an IT system, which we expect to come online at the end of this year, that we can actually track the vehicle from the first point of collection until the delivery to the final destination. This means the customer at any time can detect their vehicle. We also monitor the quality from one point to another, which means if we have any defects, we know at exactly which points they occurred.