Thunder Express is on a Roll, the Steelbro Sidelifter is there to Support

Thunder Express is on a Roll, the Steelbro Sidelifter is there to Support

Thundering into the haulage business, this operator uses Steelbro sidelifters to address the most pressing issues of their business: dependability and flexibility.

Located near Putrajaya, Thunder Express Sdn Bhd is deliberately located in the middle between the airport and Port Klang. With a background in logistics, the company initially focused on freight forwarding and the strategic placement of the office is a reflection of their business activity. Meeting with Calvin Wong and Joyce Sim, both Directors, we learn about how they managed to grow their business at lightning speed with the help of Steelbro’s sidelifters. As clients demand for fast service, the company name is a depiction of the way things are handled: lightning fast.

Thunder Express was established in 2014. At first, it was Wong working alone after he set up the company. He started alone in a small rented office in USJ, initially just providing the freight booking services, which included air and sea freight. He realised that this was not enough and that clients were asking for a full suite of services. Just offering partial solutions was not enough for the demanding clients he attracted. “In order to diversify the service in logistics and meet the requirement of customers, we applied for a customs brokerage license in 2017; and set up our haulage department in 2019. So we basically can provide A to Z services to our clients,” he summed up the company’s resume till date.

As an integrated service provider, Thunder Express does not specialise on a certain type of client, but emphasises flexibility and dependability. “What we found is that many times, when we outsourced services, the third party let us down. Sometimes we would only find out days later that the goods had not been moved as promised.” This kind of situation was not acceptable for Wong and he countered this risk of his name being tarnished by unreliable providers through vertical integration.

Prior to setting up the haulage department in 2019, serious research went into the planning. It was then, when Steelbro was added to the list of providers of assets. Reputation and dependability of Steelbro’s sidelifters was confirmed by other users and members of associations. Thunder Express handles various types of cargo in standard 20’ & 40’ containers, and also ISO tanks. Many customers request for shunting service, due to limited numbers of loading bays at their warehouse. Making up around 40 percent of the jobs, this is a key service offered. “This is where a sidelifter really shines and the ability to quickly move containers without using expensive gear has put us into a very advantageous situation.” Besides, for those premises who not have a loading bay, without sidelifter they will need to climb up the trailer for unstuffing. Has using the Steelbro sidelifter changed the operation and the types of work carried out? Yes it did, for example some of Thunder Express’ customers had to hire crane trucks to unload the container from the trailer, whereby a sidelifter can replace the crane truck and perform the same job at their side.

“Sidelifter truck also helped us to perform the jobs faster when we need to focus to turn in / turn out a big volume of containers from one premise to another.” Therefore providing sidelifter service will attract a wider customer base. The initial fleet of three prime movers and ten trailers, of which two were sidelifters has served Thunder Express well and the plan worked. Today, the fleet comprises of 11 trucks, 75 trailers and three Steelbro sidelifters. While the majority jobs are within the Klang Valley area, Thunder Express is able to operate throughout the peninsular. “Today, one of the main challenges we are facing is the congestion in ports globally. Being able to quickly move containers around using sidelifters is an advantage we have right now.” Since the acquisition of the sidelifters, Thunder Express has sent the trailers several times for normal service and parts replacement. So far the service level has been satisfactory according to Wong, whereby Steelbro managed to solve the issues in a timely manner, fast and accurate.

Drivers have to have at least two years’ experience before they would be considered by Thunder Express. Feedback from operators thus far is that the quality of Steelbro unit is reliable and the operation is safe and easy to control. “Safety consideration is very important to us, with SB450 we can carry the containers up to 45 tonnes freely. Think about heavy duty load, think about Steelbro,” added Sim. Durable and sustainable are terms used by the duo, reflecting their ambition for the business. Asked about future growth, Sim said that the company has still a lot of potential and more equipment, including Steelbro sidelifters will be added as and when demand supports this.

Sim, with a background in finance, is hoping to be able to repeat what she has been doing before joining her husbands’ business: take the company public. When asked about the secret ingredient for the fast success, Wong jokingly said that one has to find a very helpful spouse. Obviously, this constellation seems to work as Sim is applying a very sharp pencil when it comes to helping customers saving money. In turn, customers see Thunder Express not as just a transporter, but a partner that brings knowledge and equipment to the yard to make transportationseamless and cost-effective.

First published in Asian Trucker Issue 59

20210413 095246 scaled | Steelbro
20210413 091952 scaled | Steelbro
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45ft Sidelifter Extends Possibilities for Teknik Tek Logistik

45ft Sidelifter Extends Possibilities for Teknik Tek Logistik

A special event celebrated the launch and handover of Steelbro’s latest 45ft sidelifter to Port Klang based, Teknik Tek Logistik.

This extended version of the SB450 sidelifter, is the first of its kind to arrive in Malaysia. It represents an adaptation of a heavy-duty unit engineered for the Malaysian market and developed to safely transfer containers weighing up to 45 tonnes.

Whilst the typical sidelifter helps to load, transport and unload containers and other cargo, up to 40ft in length, this bigger unit will help the company meet greater cargo demands.

Teknik Tek handles the transportation component and offers a full range of solutions. It recently identified an opportunity to support customers operating 45ft containers, including high cube containers,  instead of the standard 40ft. Some clients find the extra 5ft plus extra lenght increases efficiencies, and allows different types of cargo, e.g. tall plant machinery.

The company already had an impressive fleet of 18 Prime movers and 80 trailers serving the full peninsular and 4 Steelbro sidelifters delivering within a peninsula, Malaysia. “The new addition to the fleet means we can now handle loads from 20ft, 40ft as well as 45ft including special cargo”, says Teknik Tek Logistik, Managing Director, David Lee.

“The new unit has already been put to work, handling trailer transfers for a special cargo project at South Port, Malaysia.”

David’s association with Steelbro goes back a long way.  “Starting from a second hand sidelifter that we purchased in the early days,  Steelbro quality and durability  has never failed our operations.”

“Being in the service industry, every service failure counts for a transporter. We have found these units have a robust chassis and hydraulics.  They are very reliable when required to work long hours.”

David adds, “Steelbro units have helped our operation.  They are quick and versatile to manoeuvre and very stable when transferring containers.  The operation is quicker and safer as a result and has boosted the volume of containers we can move.”

When choosing the latest unit, David based his purchase decision on safety. robust construction and economic parts.  He praised Steelbro’s aftersales service where spare parts are available round the clock.

According to Steelbro, many operators across Malaysia are choosing Steelbro sidelifters because their equipment can stand up to the toughest requirements.  Now there are units to cater to the longer containers and special cargo as well.

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First published in Asian Trucker Issue 58

689A9309 scaled | Steelbro
689A9224 scaled | Steelbro
689A9132 scaled | Steelbro
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Equipment ROI is key for young haulage company with mighty goals

Equipment ROI is key for young haulage company with mighty goals

Bold, ambitious targets call for a strong vision and focus.  CMT Logistics and Warehousing is not yet 10 years old, yet the one stop logistics provider has its sight set high, to be a market leader.

Thanks to CMT Managing Director, Alex Chua, and his strong team of logistic professionals, the company is on track to achieve its goals.

The Port Klang based company began in 2012 to offer Transportation, Forwarding, Warehousing, Customs Brokerage services and Project Logistics Management services to its customers. A separate Global Logistics arm was subsequently incorporated to focus on freight forwarding.

Recent times have seen the company enjoy significant growth. To help them serve the growing needs of its customers, CMT recently took delivery of an SB362 sidelifter from Steelbro, together with a new prime mover to complement its growing fleet.

Mr Chua is clear about what he wants from new fleet equipment.  Currently he operates an impressive fleet of 20 prime movers, 100 trailers, 5 sidelifters and 10 trucks.  For Mr Chua it largely comes down to Return on investment.

“Steelbro sidelifters have a very good market and resale value,” says Mr Chua. “Product longevity, the solid structure and design gives us confidence with the heavy lifting we need to do.”

“The engineering design, and build quality is second to none, and the reliability is extremely important.  It was clear that Steelbro was the logical choice when considering our investment decision,” adds Mr Chua.

Steelbro has experienced success with its SB362 sidelifter throughout Europe and Australasia, yet the model is relatively new to the Malaysian market.

Recently launched into Malaysia, it was carefully adapted for Malaysia conditions, and now gives Malaysian transport operators a new choice in sidelifter technology.  With its 36-tonne lifting capacity, this sidelifter is quick and stable with an outreach of more than four metres to provide ease of operation.

“We were quite impressed with the latest model”, says Mr Chua.  “The operators describe it as safe and easy to manoeuvre.  It helps to make their job much easier.”

CMT already has two of the tried, tested and popular SB450 units and so know what level of quality to expect from a Steelbro unit.  “All the Steelbro units are safe and reliable with great build quality,” says My Chua.

When Steelbro introduced the newer model to the country, it was not expected to replace the SB450, but to offer an alternative option.  In some cases, it would supplement haulage operator’s existing fleet, supporting operators such as CMT to cater to all requirements.

The existing SB450 units are ideal when conditions are extreme and call for a more rugged sidelifter unit with a stronger lifting capacity. According to Steelbro, The SB450 unit has a massive 45 tonne safe working load rating which safely allows the transport of very heavy containers.

Sidelifters at CMT together with other container haulage equipment enable the Company to offer door-to-port and port-to-door solutions for its Full Container Load (FCL) customers. Mr Chua says that the sidelifter movement is confined to short haul journeys and transfer operations and within the yard.  They handle general purpose containers (20’, 40’) as well as tanktainers.

“We run a 24-hour operation and our sidelifters operate throughout the night”, says Mr Chua. “With Steelbro, we have never worried about breakdowns or service failure because the machines seldom break down while performing a job.”

Regardless, CMT’s new sidelifter is supported by a maintenance package that provides some confidence in the event of a problem, says Steelbro.  It means that if units experience a breakdown, Steelbro will endeavour to minimise the down time for service and repair.

“We have always received the fastest service possible, and it helps that the local service operation is available until 11pm.  This helps to make our drivers to feel more comfortable,” adds Mr Chua.

“Steelbro have always looked after us and provided us with a quality product that hasn’t let us down.  That’s all you can ask for when investing in such capital equipment,” adds Mr Chua.

The team at Steelbro thank CMT for its commitment to Steelbro and investing in its equipment.

First published in Asian Trucker Issue 57

SB362 CMT Malaysia Jan 2021 2 pic | Steelbro

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Multimodal picks Steelbro for reliability, flexibility, and safety

Multimodal picks Steelbro for reliability, flexibility, and safety

Total Integrated Logistics Company, Multimodal Freight Sdn Bhd, is renowned for providing superior delivery service to all its customers. Hence, naturally it demands and expects the same level of commitment and quality service from its equipment vendors.

The wholly owned subsidiary of Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB), was established over thirty years ago, and has seen stable and consistent growth in its business over the years.

“We are very prudent in investing in any new capital investment and invest only when we have fully maximised our existing asset and there is a growth in demand to expand further” says En. Mohd Hasdey Yaakob Chief Executive Officer at Multimodal.

Expanding on its impressive fleet of 200 Prime Movers , 20 Sidelifter and more than 1000 semi skeletal and tipper trailers, Multimodal recently decided to partner with Steelbro taking delivery of two (2) new sidelifters.  This was part of a larger bulk order of sidelifters from the New Zealand manufacturer.

“When choosing the right type of equipment, price was not the sole consideration. Our focus was more on proven reliability, flexibility and safety features,” says En. Hamdan Ab Razak, Assistant General Manager.

“I believe the Steelbro name symbolises quality product and a well-known brand in the sidelifter market.  After detailed technical studies, we also found that Steelbro units have some unique and distinct characteristics.”

Multimodal Freight is one of the pioneer players in the haulage industry. In the early days, the company served as KTMB’s forwarding agent and other commercial customer. It then, later on was appointed as container railing depot operator throughout the Peninsular Railway Network.

During the 1990s, the company decided to enter the haulage industry to capitalise on the growing business of containerisation.

Today Multimodal is a successful integrated logistics company whose core logistics segments include freight forwarder, custom agent, trucking and haulage, global logistics/MTO licence holder and container depot operator for KTMB.

Although Multimodal recognised the benefits that sidelifters could bring to the business some years ago, their first sidelifters did not have the Steelbro badge.

En. Hamdan explains, “Our current fleet of sidelifters used Power Take off (PTO). The switch to Steelbro was because of its ability and flexibility to rotate the prime mover so as to optimise our fleet to the maximum.”

According to Steelbro, transport operators often choose the SB450 model, when conditions are extreme and call for a more rugged sidelifter unit with a stronger lifting capacity. This unit has a massive 45 tonne safe working load rating which allows the lifting and transport of very heavy containers in a safe manner.

“We believe the higher lifting capacity will feed well into our fleet of sidelifters to cater not only our existing customers but also attract new customer who have such requirement”, says En. Hamdan.

Aside from management decision to opt for Steelbro units, the current side lifter driver operator have also given positive feedback and excited and eager to try Steelbro sidelifter.

“Operators say they are very confident, handling the units, and appreciate the safety and durability benefits. The control unit, joystick and variable operating speeds give them more control.

“The Steelbro sidelifters also have better safety features during handling, regardless of the weight of the containers. They are also a safer choice when handling back to back containers (2x 20’).”

En. Hamdan says “The new units will handle general purpose containers (20’, 2x 20 and 40’) as well as tanktainers. Most of the sidelifter movement will be confined to short haul journeys, with some medium and long-haul trips on request.

Multimodal’s new sidelifters are supported by a special five-year repair and maintenance package. If sidelifters experience a breakdown, Steelbro will endeavour to minimise the down time for service and repair.

Steelbro Malaysia is committed to delivering great customer service and boasts some impressive experience and expertise among its members.

“The team understands that downtime needs to be kept to a minimum,” says Andy Ersalle, Steelbro’s Regional Manager, South East Asia. “We are committed to supporting customers and pride ourselves on producing quality, first class repairs in a quick turnaround time. Steelbro trained and experience personnel are on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to offer genuine parts , service and mobile support exclusive for RNM customers ”

Mr Ersalle adds, “We thank Multimodal for investing with Steelbro and will do our best to ensure that these sidelifter deliver the great service quality, durability and safety that they can expect from a Steelbro product. We are confident that the new units will help add to their business efficiency and our hope is that we can continue to be a trusted partner.”

First published in Asian Trucker issue 56

2 pic combo | Steelbro

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Steelbro’s Next Generation SB363 Sidelifter Ticks All the Boxes For Sidelink Transport

Steelbro’s Next Generation SB363 Sidelifter Ticks All the Boxes For Sidelink Transport

For over 140 years, Steelbro has maintained an international reputation for superior design and innovative manufacturing.  The Engineers & Design team at Steelbro’s New Zealand base in Christchurch are constantly striving for excellence in design. This positive research and development drive have been key to helping Steelbro retain its position as a dominant force in the global transport industry.

Steelbro’s latest model focused on delivering a further reduction in tare weight and faster deployments of stabilisers, whilst ensuring that safety in operation and quality of materials and components was enhanced.  The new SB363 36T lifting capacity was launched in 2019.

It was at the 2019 Brisbane truck show that Robert Verdino, General Manager Sidelink Transport, first noticed the SB363.  He was immediately drawn to how lean the machine looked in comparison with its predecessors. Steelbro staff were able to confirm what Robert was seeing, the SB363 was nearly a tonne lighter than the SB362 Steelbro model. According to Robert “This was huge for us as we are always pushing our trailer suppliers to look at ways to save weight.”

Established in 2007, Sidelink Transport is a family owned and operated business based in Tottenham, Melbourne. Sidelink began as a one sideloader operation with a vision to offer a competitive price and reliable service.  Sidelink now boasts one of the largest sideloader fleets in Melbourne with 19 sideloaders, the vast majority of them being Steelbro. The company also has a variety of HPFV (High productivity freight vehicles) and Single skel trailers. The Sidelink depot operates 24 hours a day, 6 days a week offering around the clock wharf collections.  Sidelink also offer safe and secure container storage. Sidelink’s winning formula is their “Never Say No” attitude and commitment to minimise cost.

According to Steelbro, the SB363 is Steelbro’s lightest model with a tare weight of just 9.6 tonnes.  This has a significant impact on payload possibilities, without any sacrifice to strength or durability. This light tare weight was an important factor in Sidelink’s purchase decision. 

“Over recent years, it has become evident that clients are looking to maximise container space by packing more freight into each shipment. This poses a problem for road carriers as we are constantly challenged to find ways to deliver clients freight on time and within road limits.

In the past, we have always looked at creative ways to minimise tare weight when building our trailers which becomes a difficult balancing act between weight and compromising the structural integrity of the trailer. Given the tare weight of the SB363, our life has been made easier given the huge weight saving on the modules.” said Robert

Steelbro’s SB363 also delivered other improvements such as improved lift speeds.  A higher flow rate hydraulic system has meant there has been a 30% increase in the speed it takes to deploy and stow stabilisers, saving valuable operator time and speeding up efficiencies. This was another tick for Robert and his team.  They have not been disappointed.  According to Robert “Since introducing the SB363 to their fleet in August 2020, it has been working 2 shifts over a 24 hour period. The operators using the SB363 are still staggered by how quick the machine is claiming that it compares to nothing that they have ever used before.”

The SB363 has fewer components and simplified electrical and hydraulic fault diagnostics, which all help to lower maintenance costs and improve overall operational efficiency.  This impressed Robert especially the practical positioning of components such as the manual override levers and the ISO fuel tank.  The new tank has been designed for easy cleaning and extra service indicators and allows central mounting.

For ease of use, the SB363 is more operator friendly with its upgraded proportional control giving smoother operation, a more responsive joystick and improved crane synchronisation. Robert said “ It was evident that the Steelbro engineers really thought about driver usability when designing this model.”

Purchasing a sideloader is a key investment decision and safety is a key consideration for Sidelink Transport.  Robert explained “The number one question we ask ourselves prior to any purchase is, how is this product going to prevent an accident from happening and keep our people safe? Given most of our fleet consists of 362 models built between 2014 – 2019, our operators were already familiar with the smart lift system, however after seeing the upgraded functions to the 363 system and the amount of detail gone into the accident prevention system, it was a no brainer for us to introduce the 363 to the Sidelink fleet.”

The enhanced SMARTlift II next generation of load monitoring system provides a colour display with high resolution screen, clearer messaging, simpler diagnostics and maintenance as well as environmental protection.

The SB363 has a large outreach of 4.05m which makes it easier handling of misaligned containers.  Stabiliser options include the standard ‘Tilt and Extend’ as well as the ‘Bridge Leg’. The optional SB363 Bridge Leg allows a container to be placed close up against a wall with a 500 mm gap between the container and the Sidelifter.

Sidelink Transport stage all containers through their brand-new depot in Truganina using HPFV vehicles. This ensures that their sideloaders are constantly working round the clock and avoiding delays at terminals ensuring their client’s requirements are consistently met on time.  Sidelink Transport has built a strong reputation as being Melbourne`s most reliable sideloader service.

Sidelink have developed a strong working relationship with the Howard Porter team.  Robert personally visited the Howard Porter Perth, WA factory in 2018. He was amazed by the footprint Howard Porter have in the mining sector in WA, building for some of the nation’s leading mining giants. Robert commented “Their influence in the mining sector has clearly been reflective in the Steelbro product over the years as we have found their chassis to be strong and resilient product.”

For more information

2 picture montage sidelink SB363 1 | Steelbro

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Trusted brand, Steelbro helps give Intercargo a lift

Trusted brand, Steelbro helps give Intercargo a lift

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

IMG 20200921 WA0000 | Steelbro

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Author: Joy Taylor