JTC Food Hub @ Senoko offers fresh take on space

(From left) JTC chief executive Png Cheong Boon; Mr Leong Hong Yew, JTC's director (food & lifestyle cluster); Minister of State Koh Poh Koon; Mr George Huang, emeritus president of Singapore Manufacturing Federation; and Mr Thomas Pek, president of
(From left) JTC chief executive Png Cheong Boon; Mr Leong Hong Yew, JTC's director (food & lifestyle cluster); Minister of State Koh Poh Koon; Mr George Huang, emeritus president of Singapore Manufacturing Federation; and Mr Thomas Pek, president of Singapore Food Manufacturers' Association, viewing a model of JTC Food Hub @ Senoko yesterday. The seven-storey complex is scheduled to be completed in the second quarter of next year. PHOTO: JTC CORPORATION

Companies in the food manufacturing industry will be able to tap new integrated facilities to increase operational efficiency next year.

The JTC Food Hub @ Senoko will have 50 modular factory units of about 1,130 sq m each when it is completed in the second quarter of next year, it was announced at a signing ceremony yesterday.

Companies will have the option of taking up adjacent units at the seven-storey complex to form larger spaces of up to 4,500 sq m each.

This will "offer companies the possibility to scale their operations as their businesses grow", said Mr George Huang, emeritus president of the Singapore Manufacturing Federation. It joined forces with JTC Corporation and Singapore Food Manufacturers' Association to develop the hub.

The hub, which is the first of its kind here, will offer an integrated cold room and warehouse facility that tenants will share on a pay-per-use basis, operated by food logistics solutions firm StorBest.

Shared distribution and delivery services provided by StorBest will also be available.

JTC chief executive Png Cheong Boon said the hub will help firms lower operating costs and so enhance competitiveness. "With these features, companies can reduce their investments in cold room, warehouse and delivery operations, and optimise their space take-up as they only need to rent the space they really need."

JTC signed agreements with three firms - Tenderfresh Fried & BBQ Chicken, Deli Asia and Kemin Industries - and StorBest at the ceremony yesterday.

"At our current premises, the cold room is at a different location from our factory unit," Tenderfresh managing director Jimmy Soh said.

The hub will have its cold room and warehouse facility located directly under the firms' factory units, consolidating operations and increasing efficiency.

"The capital and operating cost savings we will gain will allow us to further invest in technologies that can streamline our processes," said Mr Alex Ong, managing director of Deli Asia.

Dr Koh Poh Koon, Minister of State for National Development, and Trade and Industry, said at the ceremony: "With warehousing and logistics functions taken care of by a third-party operator, the Food Hub's tenants will be able to focus on their core functions and undertake activities to enhance their competitive advantage."

JTC is working with DBS, OCBC and UOB to develop customised financing solutions for firms taking up 20-year leases at the hub.

Mr Png said these financial packages, coupled with the new SME Working Capital Loan and Automation Support Package highlighted in last week's Budget, will "provide comprehensive support for small and medium-sized food companies to transform and grow their businesses".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2016, with the headline 'JTC Food Hub @ Senoko offers fresh take on space'. Print Edition | Subscribe