Usaha Teknikal Pushes Automation at Ports with OCR Solutions (NST)


Usaha Teknikal Sdn Bhd (UT) is pushing for the automation in ports locally by leveraging on its partnership with a Swiss-Swedish multinational corporation, ABB.

UT managing director Syed Sadiq Obaidi Albar said the company’s coalition with ABB allows the former to deploy the latter’s optical character recognition (OCR) solutions that can automate several key processes of port in Malaysia.

“We are still in the negotiation with port operators to deploy this solution. OCR is one of the primary drivers to automate port operations,” he told the New Straits Times in an interview recently.

He said the high-technology solutions will allow port operators’ current workforce to be upskilled to become more efficient while improving productivity and promoting safer container handling and work environment.

“OCR does not just involve cranes but also rail and trucks. It is a system that assists port operators to automate processes typically handled manually.

For instance, it allows operators to handle more cranes remotely, when moving containers from ship to shore,” he added.

Becoming fully operational in 2016, UT’s expertise lies in port equipment including prime mover, mobile harbour and engineering services.

It provides leasing of port and rail equipment, operations and maintenance, crane refurbishment and upgrades, and automation to ports.

The company has a strong presence locally and in Brunei, backed by 88 employees.

UT had clinched a total of RM16 million in projects last year, primarily for the operations and maintenance of cranes for bulk handling, leasing and operations of crane for container handling, leasing of container equipment fleet and crane refurbishment.

To-date, UT has secured about RM30 million in contracts at Johor Port and Muara Port in Brunei for the refurbishment of quay crane and lease equipment as well as maintenance and upgrade of ship-to-shore crane. It recently completed the Muara Port project ahead of schedule.

“These projects have put us on the map, allowing us to go beyond and look at other prospective jobs in the region such as Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand,” he said.

Syed Sadiq said jobs like crane upgrades were capital intensive, which required the company to seek and successfully receive financing from Pelaburan Mara Bhd to carry out these projects.

“It would be very expensive for port operators to buy new equipment for their operations. They prefer to increase their existing equipment’s lifespan by upgrading and refurbishing, which is what we do.

“Structurally, a crane would be fine but its system maybe obsolete with a worn-out cabin. Hence, it would need to be upgraded which would be more cost effective than purchasing a new crane,” he said.

Asked on whether the company is keen on listing to grow further, Syed Sadiq said: “We have not given it much thought. However if there is an opportunity that makes sound business sense and allows the company to raise capital, we would certainly not ignore it.”

He said UT’s main objective for now was to focus on securing projects based on our capabilities, while ensuring the company is well-run and profitable.

“It is in our interest to ensure we fully understand the market and are able to solve issues so a port can be run efficiently. With our hands-on experience in project management and a senior technical team, we are able to hold our own in this highly competitive sector,” he said.

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Article Photo : Usaha Teknikal Sdn Bhd (UT) is pushing for the automation in ports locally by leveraging on its partnership with a Swiss-Swedish multinational corporation, ABB. Picture by Faiz Anuar.