As Malaysia’s booming internet economy goes from strength to strength, U-Freight has launched its e-commerce logistics solution in Penang.

First established in Hong Kong six months ago, U-Freight’s e+Solutions provides e-commerce start-ups with “behind the scenes” logistics services, including warehousing, order fulfillment and processing, last-mile delivery and real-time inventory updates and tracking.

“U-Freight already had a large logistics hub in Penang with room to accommodate an area dedicated to freight and logistics fulfillment services for e-commerce start-ups,” explained U-Freight Group chief executive Simon Wong.

“There are a lot of Chinese Malaysians in the Penang area setting up the sort of small businesses e+Solutions is designed for.”

U-Freight’s key customer in Malaysia is fellow Hong Kong company Boutir, a mobile-app based e-commerce platform dedicated to small retailers.

“e+Solutions provides the logistics support to the platform and the buyers and sellers that use it. U-Freight has been hosting some of Boutir’s seminars which explain how a seller can use their platform, and they are keen to expand in Malaysia,” said Mr Wong.

According to Statista, Malaysia’s e-commerce market saw US$3.68bn in revenue last year, and is expected to reach $5.7bn by 2023. Lazada, Shopee and Taobao are currently the country’s top three online shopping platforms.

The government has been keen to support this e-commerce growth and, in 2017, announced a partnership with Alibaba to create a digital free-trade zone, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), expected to open in the third-quarter to provide more efficient cross-border e-commerce logistics with China, as well as Malaysia’s ASEAN neighbours.

Mr Wong said U-Freight was considering setting up an additional logistics hub in Kuala Lumpur, but added it could already handle domestic and cross-border transactions from Penang.

The number of online channels and platforms focused on small retailers is continuing to grow, Mr Wong said, providing both challenges and opportunities for freight forwarders.

“Competition in logistics is fierce, so finding and capitalising on niche sectors of the business is key. We were early to market with our involvement in the Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) programme and e+Solutions is another example of how we are utilising technology and infrastructure to help deliver bespoke logistics solutions for the e-commerce market.”

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