With its headquarters in Bintulu, Sarawak in East Malaysia, Intercargo has emerged as one of the region’s most successful forwarding, transportation, warehousing, equipment rental and shipping companies.
From humble beginnings, the company started as a courier service provider in Bintulu old town in 1987. Two years later the first contract to transport 50kg bags of urea was signed, and by 2017, founder and director Alan Lau celebrated the company’s 30-year anniversary as a thriving enterprise.
Today, the operation has expanded throughout Sarawak with branches in Bintulu, Sibu, Miri and Kuching and has a dedicated workforce of more than 200 staff. With its extensive warehousing, vast range of transportation equipment, and logistic solutions, Intercargo is well placed as one of the leading transportation companies in East Malaysia.
Among the services it offers, Intercargo assists customers with custom clearance, air and sea freight forwarding, transportation, shipping, warehousing, heavy lifting and installation, jacking and skidding, and equipment rental.
Director, Alan Lau is still responsible for day-to-day operations and formulating the group’s strategies and policies. He continues to strive for improvement by constantly upgrading his fleet of vehicles and facilities to meet the ever-changing environment.
Mr Lau understands the importance of product lifetime value and choosing the right equipment. He says, “Investing in high quality equipment from a brand name you can trust has always been important.”
His impressive fleet of equipment includes a family of six sidelifters, including the only 20Ft model in Bintulu, from New Zealand based manufacturer, Steelbro. These include some of Steelbro’s earliest models, the MK6 and the SB402, which are still in operation today and demonstrate the quality and durability of these products. Intercargo is looking to add to its sidelifter fleet in the coming months.
Other equipment includes 20’ and 40’ container trailers, lowbed and high bed trailers, goose neck trailer, lorry mounted crane, pole trailer and modular multi-axle trailers.
The team at Intercargo saw the unique benefits that adding sidelifters to the fleet would bring to the business. The units are able to load and unload a container on the ground instead of on the back of a trailer.
When the company decided to invest in more sidelifters, it made sense to partner again with the trusted Steelbro brand. “In July 2020 we took delivery of another first-class product, with a quality maintenance programme,” says Mr Lau.
“Apart from being a trusted brand, we chose Steelbro for the durability of the sidelifter frame chassis structure, safety features that the product offers, and also great customer service.”
“The Steelbro sidelifters have been very efficient, saving time and money. They help to minimise the use of our skeleton trailers, and are convenient for our clients to unstuff and stuff (the containers) particularly when a client’s site does not have loading bay”.
“Sidelifters also offers us better options when comes to container handling with sensitive cargos.”
The SB450 sidelifter model was engineered by Steelbro to cope with environments where conditions are extreme and call for a highly durable sidelifter unit with a strong lifting capacity. The environment and conditions in Malaysia sometimes require a more rugged unit such as the Steelbro SB450 which can handle transfers of containers weighing up to 45 tonnes easily within a safe working envelope.
According to Mr Lau, Intercargo use their sidelifters to handle 20’ and 40’ standard container, high-cube containers, 20’ and 40’ reefer containers, open top containers, iso tanktainers. Their sidelifters are used for short as well as long journeys, to and from the port.
“Over the past years, we have received increase volumes and demand for sideloader container lifting. Many of our clients find it much easier and faster for them to operate, especially when there is limited space for a conventional crane to operate.”
The organisation has even rented out its sidelifters to other companies when they break down.
Operators have been impressed by the units as well.
“They say it has improved the way they do their work. They are easy to operate, even for a beginner. One of our experienced operators often says ‘container haulage is way faster than before, and easy to manoeuvre,’” says Mr Lau.
Currently there is no Steelbro Service centre in East Malaysia and technicians will come over from West Malaysia. Intercargo also send their workshop operators to West Malaysia for training on how to service the units.
Looking forward to the next 30 years, Mr Lau adds. “We always thought this brand would bring us forward with future business opportunities.”
First published in Asian Trucker Issue 55