AVIATION INTERVIEW WITH IBRAHIM MOHAMED SALLEH
CEO of MASkargo
Armed with over 20 years of experience in the cargo, systems and administration sectors, Malaysia Airlines Kargo Sdn Bhd. (MASkargo) is being led by a capable man. Since his appointment, the CEO has taken the company to new milestones, specifically the awarding of the Halal certificate by JAKIM. By opening new doors, Ibrahim Mohamed Salleh is considered as the perfect man to helm MASkargo into uncharted waters and greater heights, onwards and upwards to being a company that all Malaysians can be proud of.
On 20 September 2019, MASkargo launched its halal logistics division by virtue of being awarded the halal certification by JAKIM- the first carrier cargo in the world to be awarded this status. What were the steps that you had to undertake in order to achieve this feat?
In order to acquire the halal certification, we had to firstly, look at the requirements for us to be certified and re-examined on how we currently conduct our processes. From there, we created specific handling processes such as identification, segregation, and storage in addition to messaging and documentation. With this, we consulted JAKIM on areas that we needed to correct.
In addition, we sought for guidance and assistance from the Halal Development Corporation, Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor, Pejabat Agama Islam Daerah Sepang, Malaysia Airports and Jabatan Standard Malaysia. Eventually, when we were prepared, JAKIM audited MASkargo and the company as a whole to which, after examining all the corrective actions that we took in order to fulfill their requirements, we were awarded the certificate on 1 May 2019.
The difference was that in contrast to conventional requirements such as the ISO 9001 and ISO 9002 quality management systems, the halal requirements deal with matters within the spheres of religion, morality and accountability for the Muslim community.
Why was it important for MASkargo to gain this status?
The halal certificate by JAKIM is more than just a label on a piece of paper, it affirms our customers that we have gone above and beyond conventional regulations in order to ensure that cargo such as food is transported in a clean and hygienic manner from the point of production to the point of consumption.
For example, in transporting food, halal requirements establish that an animal must be slaughtered in accordance to Islamic law; food preparation must be clean, safe, and secure; and, the food must be handled safely and appropriately during transport. It is strict and upholds the highest of food quality for our customers, as fresh food can still be considered non-halal if it has been handled inappropriately during its transportation for fear of contamination. These rules also apply to other cargos such as cosmetics, farm products, vegetables and so on.
About RM500,000 have been invested into this division, which includes the development of labour force, facilities, training and process procedures. Some may argue that this is a small sum, but in MASkargo we believe in making every ringgit go the full mile. That is why we prioritise impact and efficiency of the usage of funds rather than the amount itself.
On the other hand, we have high hopes as the market for halal logistics services to be very promising. Currently, it is said that there are billions of USD of halal products being transported worldwide. Additionally, ASEAN has a large Muslim population; thus, it would naturally be the next step for us in expanding our repertoire of services.
It is also important to note that JAKIM is one of the world’s foremost recognised authorities on Islamic matters. Therefore, to have that name in our portfolio brings us to a higher level where we can achieve greater milestones.
Which destinations in the world that has seen the highest demand for MASkargo’s freighter service?
In terms of the ASEAN region, we have a well distributed market expansion. Destinations such as Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila and Rangoon have an increasingly strong demand for MASkargo’s cargo and freight services.
On the other hand, competition in the Chinese market is intense but demand of our services is also growing; we are now operating wide- body aircraft and freighters for this service.
In addition, for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 we have plans to collaborate with Nippon
Express in the transportation of halal goods into Japan as they cater for both the needs of both participants and their visitors.
The following figures is the distribution of revenue in terms of countries:
- Malaysia – 30%
- China – 21%
- Europe – 14%
- India – 8%
- ASEAN – 8%
Australia and New Zealand – 5%
What initiatives have been implemented in order to boost customer satisfaction and business expansion via technological innovation?
Firstly, we have the Online Booking Engine which is applicable for bulk cargo or boxed items, where people can book and pay online to MASkargo for services such as airport-to-airport delivery as well as to be informed of space availability and acquire it. However, this service is strictly not applicable for big- sized items such as machinery parts or oil & gas equipment; this service is only available for items weighing at 80kg and below. We are looking to launch this on the 1 November 2019.
Secondly, we provide live tracking of equipment. This service offers real-time ULD tracking information accurately monitor and re-plan shipments that are delayed due to irregular operations, such as extreme weather events. With this, customers have an end-to- end tracking of the ULDs from their warehouses to every point until their final destination. The tracking is made possible via Bluetooth technology at participating airports worldwide.
Thirdly, we have the Cargo iQ system. It is a software that displays freight status updates, which improves tracking visibility from the point of booking to delivery for airlines and forwarders. It also enables reporting on end- to-end performance and provides an in-depth analysis of customer requirements, plus access to operational gap analysis via Cargo iQ data. Ultimately, it improves our customers services index and add value to our product offering.
Please tell us more about your educational and professional background and how has this benefitted your role as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MASkargo?
I hold a degree in estate management from Oxford Polytechnic and a certificate in accident investigations from Cranfield University. I was appointed the CEO of Malaysia Airlines Kargo, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG), in September 2018.
I began my career in Malaysia Airlines in 1992, moving across various business units with over 20 years in cargo operations, systems and administration occupations. I served as the Senior Vice President of Cargo Operations and Senior Vice President of Cargo Corporate Services before subsequently appointed as General Manager of Corporate Safety for Malaysia Airlines from 2015 to 2016.
Before I became CEO of MASkargo, my last position was Vice President of the Gateway Services of SATS Limited in Singapore and I was posted as Chief Operating Officer of PT Jasa Angkasa Semesta (a joint venture company of SATS Limited, Singapore), a company specialising in airline ground handling in Indonesia.
In the next few years, what are you looking to achieve f r MASkargo both domestically and internationally?
To us, it is very simple and focussed: to be a profitable, sustainable cargo arm of Malaysia Airlines that all Malaysians can be proud of.
In order to achieve this, I want to further develop the cargo, air freight and logistics division of MASkargo. Additionally, we have a trucking arm of the company operating truck flights run by MASkargo Logistics Sdn Bhd (a 100% subsidiary of MASkargo), and we see great potential in further developing this division as well.
In regard to the international market, it has been rather challenging. Nevertheless, I always believe that new challenges always present new opportunities. We always strive to have the mindset to look beyond problems and finding opportunities.
Personally, what are the sort of activities do you engage in your free time?
I do enjoy golfing and reading. I find golfing as a way for one to challenge oneself, as it is one of the most difficult games in the world. Meanwhile, I enjoy reading as a way for me to stimulate my imagination.