from left : JOIN Director Rikiya Kanamori, Japan to Malaysia Extraodinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador Dr Makio Miyagawa, Malaysia Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, Tasco Bhd Executive Chairman Lee Check Poh and Tasco Bhd Group CEO Freddie Lim at the Tasco and JOIN Signing ceremony at Putrajaya

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia is pulling all stops to position itself as the logistics hub in the region.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke said talks were underway with foreign companies to relocate to Malaysia, using the country as their logistics hub.

“Since this is a trade secret, I cannot say anything about these talks.

“One or two big companies are talking to us right now and very close to getting them to come to Malaysia,” he told reporters after the launch of the Kuala Lumpur International Logistics and Transport Exhibition (KiLAT) 2020.

Loke said in the next one to two years, Malaysia would focus on getting more multi-national companies (MNC) to set up base here.

“Especially during the current US-China trade war, we should fully utilise our current advantage to attract more companies to come here.

“For instance, our cost is very competitive compared to our neighbours, which can be one of the reasons to attract the MNCs to relocate to Malaysia.

“”We are seeing that now is the right opportunity right, and a lot of companies are looking at how to reduce cost in terms of improving their efficiency.”

On growth target for the logistics sector in the coming years, the minister was satisfied to see a positive growth.

“Logistics is actually one of the fastest growing industries and we are looking at how to further develop the industry right now.”

Loke said the ports including Port Klang were doing well with their double digit growth and expressed his hope that it would continue recording similar growth or better next year.

Earlier, the minister said in his speech that the transportation sector had been the backbone of the country’s growth which enabled efficient movement of passengers and good across borders.

“It has grown at a rapid rate and contributed 3.5 per cent to Malaysia’s gross domestic products in 2017 with a value of RM48.8 billion, adding 6.6 per cent to the services sector.

“The sector is expected to grow further at a rate of 8.9 per cent or higher in the future.

“Malaysia has all the right ingredients to become one of the most advanced regional distribution centre and logistics hub,” he added.

Loke said Malaysia’s strategic location, modern transport infrastructure, knowledgeable work force and advanced IT infrastructure made the country an interesting value proposition for investors to continue making Malaysia their first choice for investment.

On this note, he said, it was timely for Malaysia to host an international logistics and transport exhibition with the theme ‘Malaysia: Transportation Gateway to Asia’ next year and appropriate in line with Malaysia’s National Transport Policy 2019-2030.

As the country geared towards improving and developing its logistics and transportation system, Loke said KiLAT 2020 aimed to introduce the country’s transport expansion policies and mid-term expansion plans.

He added that the exhibition aimed to showcase Malaysia as the international transportation hub; promote international trade through lower transportation costs; promote career opportunities in the transport industry and become a leading centre of transportation technology and innovation in Asia.

KiLAT 2020 will also host other concurrent events such as land transport conference, logistics conference, aviation conference, maritime conference, career and education fair, scholarship awards, and transport excellence awards.

“KiLAT 2020 is expected to attract more than 25,000 trade visitors and delegates from all over the world over a period of four days from July 8 to 11,” Loke said, adding more than 20 countries including all Asean member states and other major trading partners were expected to participate.