Logistics sector pooling resources to upgrade, innovate

Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran yesterday also announced a call for proposals for trade associations and chambers to work together.
Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran yesterday also announced a call for proposals for trade associations and chambers to work together.PHOTO: SPRING SINGAPORE

A centralised, real-time system to track container trucks islandwide would be a boon for the logistics sector - and it could come the Republic's way in two years' time.

The planned Transport Integrated Platform is one project being handled by the Logistics Alliance, a six-member industry group formed yesterday to upgrade the sector.

The new group is in line with last year's logistics industry transformation map, said Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran, pointing to its planned interventions in the areas of innovation, productivity and human capital.

The Logistics Alliance, supported by Spring Singapore, comprises the Container Depot and Logistics Association (Singapore), the Singapore Logistics Association, the Singapore Transport Association and the former Singapore Aircargo Agents Association - now rebranded SAAA@Singapore. It also includes Republic Polytechnic's Centre of Innovation for Supply Chain Management.

Mr Iswaran, speaking at a forum for trade associations and chambers (TACs), said: "Under this alliance, the four TACs have formed sub-groups to lead specific initiatives, including identification and adoption of emerging technologies, development of a common transport platform, and designing of training programmes to expand the talent pool and upskill the logistics workforce.

"This form of intra-industry collaboration allows related TACs to avoid duplication of efforts and to be able to reach out to a larger number of enterprises in a purposeful, coordinated and synergistic manner."

The Singapore Logistics Association's first deputy chairman, Mr Kay Kong Swan, was upbeat about the potential for the integrated container truck tracking system.

"Once you have a common platform for all drivers... you can share and pool jobs," he said.

He noted that innovative solutions are urgently needed in the logistics sector as higher business costs are eroding profit margins.

"Competition within Singapore has become more keen," said Mr Kay, who is also chief executive for integrated logistics at CWT.

But he believes that more cooperation among businesses could increase efficiency across the sector - for example, when it comes to how container truck routes are coordinated with depot processing schedules.

Other projects that the Logistics Alliance will tackle include development of technology-based solutions and better recruitment and retention of workers.

Mr Iswaran yesterday also announced a call for proposals for TACs to work together, as the government funding cap for such multi-TAC tie-ups has been raised to 90 cents for each dollar, up from 70 cents of support previously.

"Intra-industry, cross-industry or TAC consortia are all viable models for TACs to work together to advance collective interests," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2017, with the headline 'Logistics sector pooling resources to upgrade, innovate'. Print Edition | Subscribe