William Yong Siew Hung is the 3rd child of a family of 4. He was born in Labuan but grew up in Sandakan and Tawau due to his father’s work in the timber industry. At the age of 15 he was sent to Singapore for studies.
In 1993 William returned to Labuan and started his first business barter trading with the Philippines traders. He ventured into construction line in 1996. However by 2000, his construction business failed due to non-payment from his main contractor. This resulted in him owing a lot of people a lot of money.
“Those times were the worst period of my life. I turned to my friends for help but was turned away harshly. I knew then who my true friends were. During this downfall, the biggest lesson I learnt is that if everybody gives up on you, never give up on yourself. No matter how hard life is, with hard work and perseverance you will succeed,” says William.
When his 2nd child was born, he knew he had to do something to improve the situation so that his children would have better lives. He started to make ‘dim sum’, nasi lemak, cakes and kuih to sell in the market waking up very early every day to prepare for his produce. His nanny was his sales lady who pushed to sell all the food every day. At the same time, he also supplied to a few coffee-shops in town.
In October 2002, a friend had asked William to work for her after seeing his situation then. This is where he entered the forwarding line. In just a few months, he had learnt everything from declaration to air freight and sea freight.
In March 2003, William set up his own forwarding company, named Trans Ocean Services, with the blessings of his boss. In the same year he took up the initiative to attend Kastam’s Course and managed to get his license to be a qualified and registered Kastam clearance agent. However he knew these were not enough to be a Dangerous Goods (DG) expert, so in 2004 he took up the Malaysian Airlines Dangerous Goods Regulations Course, which is very useful for his work.
In 2006, William rented a small office and employed his first staff. At that time, he was still working for his friend and was doing only Dangerous Goods and minor shipping, hence there were no clashes of interest with his boss. He was also doing chartering of flights for projects and cargo movements. He managed to secure jobs with a few clients and proudly these few clients are still with him till this day since 2003.
In November 2007, William incorporated Trans Ocean Services Sdn Bhd. Due to the increase in business, he decided to resign from his friend’s company and fully concentrate on his own business. Business started to grow and he needed more space for his staffs and cargoes. In 2008, he moved to his current office, fully equipped with a warehouse. Since then he has grown to be a specialist dealing with Dangerous Goods (DG) for the oil and gas industry. Due to his work requirements, he’s established international partners for freight services all around the world.
William started a full force shipping line in the year 2011 after obtaining his license from the Marine Department and Immigration department of Labuan. Up to date, he is acting as the owner’s agent for a quite a few vessels, and has a work scope range including crew handling, work permit application, clearance of vessels, supplies of provisions, supplies of hardware, and so on so forth.
In 2010 William ventured into Brunei for a joint business with a local. It was also in this year that he started transportation services into Brunei for Transmile Airways, providing door to door trucking services throughout Brunei.
In October 2011, William was honoured to participate in one of Shell’s projects in Labuan. This project was the first of its kind in Asia, and that was the transportation of 14 pcs of jumpers from FMC to Asian Supply Base jetty using multi-axle vehicles for loading onto vessels that were bound for offshore. Each piece of jumper weighs 42 tons and is 96 feet in length. “The whole project went smoothly from the beginning till the end with zero accidents or incidents. This proves that we are in compliance with Shell’s HSE requirements. Discovery Channel even took recordings of this project as it’s considered a mega project.”
In the year 2012, William began the line of business of warehousing and also changed the name of the company to TOS Logistics & Shipping Sdn Bhd. “By that time, we could be called as a total logistics company.”
The Kuala Lumpur office was registered in 2014. With this office in place, William is able to provide his clients an all-round service.
The year 2015 has been a very busy year for William. The office in Singapore was registered in February and due to limited space in the current warehouse in Labuan, 2 acre land has been rented. At the time of writing, a new warehouse and new office is being built. At the same time, William has successfully obtained a bonded trucking license from Labuan Kastam. Now he has daily flight truck from Labuan to Kota Kinabalu under Raya Airways.
“Nothing is definite; it just depends on how you make use of each opportunity and moment to make it your best. As I always tell my staffs, ‘One must be willing to learn and willing to change. Whatever you learn are all your assets. Nobody can take that away from you.’“
“I believe that in business, what matters most is not the quantity but quality. The quality of service you provide to your client is more important than the quantity of the business you have. With this motto, this is what motivates me to be the man I am today.”
William Yong is a winner of the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards 2015 BIMP-EAGA, under the Most Promising Category. The Awards were held on 1st August 2015 at Miri Marriott Resort and Spa, Sarawak, Malaysia.