• The Mercedes-Benz Actros on the road in Malaysia.

    Actros 2644: Big in Malaysia.

    The Actros on the road in the mega city of Kuala Lumpur.

    Photo: Alexander Tempel

Booming economy.

A man in his mid-30s strolling through the inner city of Kuala Lumpur will soon feel old. Not because of the oppressive, muggy heat with temperatures above 30 degrees, but because of people’s faces: Malaysia is a very young country. About a third of its roughly 31 million inhabitants are aged 15 years or below. The Southeast Asian country has successfully evolved from a commodities supplier into a diversified industry location. Over 75 per cent of the population live in cities. Around one quarter of government spending goes to schools and universities. In addition, the government is investing heavily in the expansion and upgrading of roads, ports and rail networks. Successfully, it would seem: thanks to these investments, Malaysia’s economy is flourishing. Annual growth rates since 2011 have been up to six per cent.

The 452-metre high Petronas Towers in the centre of Kuala Lumpur.
Loo Hooi Keat, CEO Swift Group, with Mercedes-Benz Actros 2644 in Port Klang, Malaysia.

Experienced businessman.

Good news for the logistics sector. And that pleases Loo Hooi Keat. The 62-year-old entrepreneur, whose parents came to Malaysia from China about 65 years ago, is in charge of the Swift Group. “We are the fastest-growing logistics services provider in Malaysia,” says the experienced CEO and investor. Since 1996, he has also been heading the long-established company Pelikan, which was originally founded in Hanover, Germany. “In addition to the classic forwarding business, the Swift Group is also active in cross-border projects and contract logistics as well as in warehouse management.”

Number one.

In terms of tonnage moved, the company has been the biggest freight forwarder in Port Klang, Malaysia’s most important seaport, located about an hour’s drive west of the capital Kuala Lumpur on the Strait of Malacca. The corporate headquarters of Swift are also located nearby. Established in 2011, the Group has 2,000 employees today and operates a fleet of over 550 trucks – with 250 of these bearing the Mercedes star. In 2016 Swift transported around 278,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit). The logistics experts work primarily for customers in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. “Our planning for the future includes major regional expansion, for example into Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and China,” says Loo Hooi Keat.

Mercedes-Benz Actros 2644 on the road in the mega city of Kuala Lumpur.
Mercedes-Benz Actros 2644 on the road in the mega city of Kuala Lumpur.

Shaping the change.

The bulk of the current total of 250 Mercedes-Benz trucks in Swift’s fleet are prime movers: the tried-and-tested Actros 2644. They make up the biggest fleet of Mercedes-Benz trucks in the whole of Malaysia. A further 32 units are about to be delivered. “Change never comes easy,” says Loo Hooi Keat. “But if you work with the right partner, it is not something we need to fear. Mercedes-Benz Trucks is very well positioned here in our region. The trucks are characterised by quality and reliability. If we do encounter a problem once in a while, the technicians turn up in no time and take care of it. It is this close cooperation, the proactive manner in which I, as the customer, am asked for my input in the improvement and further development of the trucks, that I consider quite unique.”

Video at RoadStars.