Entrepreneur-Engineer Andy Low Wants To Put Malaysian Ports Back On Top

The Hard & The Hazardous

Andy Low has an innate sincerity that is common among men who’ve spent enough hours wrenching open industrial engines under the afternoon sun. Trained as an electrical and electronics engineer from the UK, he suffers no pretensions having come up the long way. And as the founder and managing director of Greenbulb Energy – the only local company with an in-house design team that modernises port cranes – he’s singularly focused on his mission to revolutionize cargo consolidation in Malaysia. In case your copy of the World Bank Logistics Performance Index (LPI) has gone awry, Malaysia had the highest LPI score after Singapore in 2016. Fast forward to 2018 and both Thailand and Vietnam have overtaken us. Here, he takes over in his own words.

If one considers that 97% of goods are transported via shipping lanes, Malaysian ports still have a lot to improve in terms of operational technologies in comparison with ports in other parts of the world. Although we are in the Industry 4.0 era, many ports are still reluctant to adapt its technologies. I play a role in convincing port owners to upgrade.

Greenbulb Energy has already completed joint projects in electrification of two quay cranes for the Sarawak Civil Service Department. We have also established an affiliate in Jakarta after successfully completing break-through projects in Indonesia. Our latest achievement is securing a service order from KOTUG in the Netherlands, a tugboat service company. All this in addition to being the authorised systems partner for Siemens and Fuji Electric.

My team of carefully assembled engineers are primarily tasked with providing solutions to refurbish port cranes. This process starts at the design and engineering stage, before graduating to procurement, installation, commissioning and finally end user acceptance. But we’re unique because the entire process is performed in Malaysia without external assistance and foreign dependence. I realised the market was too reliant on foreign solutions and since the market potential is huge with the trend of going from manual to automation, this further motivated me to find solutions to grow the local workforce whilst offering our customers competitive pricing.

I was recently selected to be part of the committee under the Engineering Department Industry Advisory Board of my alma mater at the University of Nottingham. This role sees me curating key topics for undergraduate study besides establishing research and development programmes to prepare young students for careers in the port industry. Malaysian graduates have a lot of strengths and I’m learning a lot from them as well. Plus I like helping them fill out the parts that are missing. I’m always encouraging new engineers to take a hands-on approach and that means getting dirty under hazardous environments. Working under that kind of pressure is the best way to develop good ideas and a passion for hard work.

Greenbulb Energy is currently a participant in the AmBank BizRACE season 2.This four module development programme aims to help promising businesses scale and expand. But pitching your business to a panel of judges is a different experience altogether. Now I’ve got to put pen to paper and detail what the next five years of my business will look like as we consider the opportunities developing in the port industry.

To take the edge off I have several hobbies. I’m an avid mountain biker and I’ve explored trails across Southeast Asia. I also love speed and tracking my Porsche Cayman at Sepang Circuit when I get the chance. In fact I accidentally blew the exhaust on my last track day. I’ve always had a passion for motor sports so this is one hobby I’ll pursue whenever time allows.

With so many avenues drawing me in different directions, my family keeps me grounded. My home is my centre of calm. It’s where I go to be still and recharge. Family time is the most important thing to me. Even today I still send my kids to school and I take this opportunity to stay in touch with them. They’re growing up so fast and every moment with them is precious.

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