More than 200 participants from the cement, quarry and construction sectors at the Shell Malaysia Technovation 2018 had the opportunity to gain insights from industry experts on some of the opportunities and challenges present as infrastructure developments continue to drive the country forward.
Among the country’s major infrastructure projects are the Mass Rapid Transit Line 2 (MRT2), the Pan-Borneo Highway or PBH and the much talked about high-speed rail (HSR) linking Malaysia and Singapore.
Others include the Forest City mixed development project and Robotic Future City in Johor, Melaka Gateway, Kuala Linggi International Port, Kuantan Port expansion, waterfront land reclamation in Penang and a green technology park in Pahang.
While all these multi-billion ringgit projects looked set to present tremendous opportunities to local companies, there were also various challenges involved.
Professor Dr Cheng Ming Yu of the Belt and Road Strategic Research Centre, University Tunku Abdul Rahman, took the opportunity to share insights on how Malaysian companies could benefit from the much talked-about Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
“The primary objective of this China-led initiative is to establish connectivity through infrastructure, cultural and technological exchange to promote mobility and achieve sustained economic progress. For local companies to participate actively and benefit from BRI, they need to know how to manage the inflow of capital, people and technology and be ready to face challenges brought by rapid changes in the global environment. This calls for continuous investments and upgrading in education, training, human capital development, and technologies,” she said.
Tunnelling expert Ir Syed Rajah Hussain Shaib from The Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM) pointed out that many infrastructure projects now required the deployment of new technologies such as tunnelling to reduce the impact on the natural environment.
He called for institutions of higher education to update their syllabuses accordingly to meet the human capital needs for the use of such advanced technologies.
His colleague in IEM, Ir Derick Chia, then spoke on the complexity of project management and the importance of preventive maintenance on machinery to ensure timely delivery at each stage of a project.
“Machine is definitely one of the five key elements of project management as any breakdown will interrupt work activities on site. Delays could be extremely costly as the contractor could end up paying the full penalty, which is 15% of the total contract amount.
Hence, we strongly urged the project managers or site managers to pay serious attention to the ‘machine integrity’ issue. The ‘machine’ element might not comprise a huge portion of the entire project cost, but it definitely will impact the project schedule, especially those that involved a large portion of site installation works,” he said.
At the conference, two Shell experts on lubricant technology also shared their views and knowledge on the crucial roles of lubricants in ensuring machine integrity and availability and their impact on total cost of ownership with the participants.
Lubricants technical specialist Dr Felix Guerzoni from Shell Shanghai Technology Centre highlighted the extensive range of lubricants developed by Shell to meet the needs of increasingly sophisticated machinery used in infrastructure development projects, including the Shell Naturelle range of biodegradable lubricants suitable for sensitive environments.
Meanwhile, Shell Global Technical and OEM Manager Karen Lee touched on how private companies, including lubricants suppliers such as Shell, could play a role in supporting infrastructure developments in Malaysia.
As the largest lubricant supplier in the world for the past 11 years, Shell has the right products and technical expertise to help construction companies improve their machine availability by using the correct lubricants to lower maintenance costs, reduce equipment downtime and achieve higher productivity.
Shell Malaysia Technovation is an annual technology conference organised by Shell Malaysia Industrial Lubricants units for its customers across the industries.