French firm Bollore Logistics opens $100m logistics facility in Boon Lay

Bollores Logistics' new facility in Boon Lay has a centralised automated system which boosts the productivity of goods picking. ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

SINGAPORE - French logistics and transport company Bollore Logistics has opened a $100 million facility in the Boon Lay area which houses the firm's first innovation centre in Asia-Pacific and only its second worldwide.

The 540,000 sq ft facility, which includes a 43m-tall conveyor and is designed to support the perfume and cosmetics sector, uses an estimated 40 per cent less energy than the average warehouse in the same category.

Blue Hub, as the facility in Sunview Road is called, also features a centralised automation system to allow for higher productivity in goods picking activities and better use of space.

Speaking at the official opening on Wednesday (Dec 4), Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat said that Blue Hub is testament to Singapore's continued attractiveness as a strategic base for companies in the logistics sector to manage their regional and global operations.

More than 5,000 logistics companies are based in Singapore and 25 international logistics players have either their global or regional headquarters located here, said Mr Chee, who also Senior Minister of State for Education.

"The combination of a strong talent pool, robust supporting ecosystem in professional and transport services, and deep research capabilities in supply chain management, provides a solid value proposition for companies when they navigate the markets and supply chains in Asia," Mr Chee said.

Projects in the works at the innovation centre in Singapore include the development of a robotic arm for the luxury retail industry.

Mr Fabien Giordano, chief executive of Bollore Logistics North Asia, said that Singapore was chosen as the location for its research and development (R&D) centre as it is a strategic hub for the company's operations in the region.

"If we compare with other parts of Asia, the level of training, schools, and the ecosystem in general in Singapore (best) supports the level of R&D we want to do in Asia," he said.

The company employs around 1,600 people across its 12 warehouses here, including more than 300 workers based at Blue Hub. The firm is looking to increase its total headcount to beyond 1,800 next year.

Mr Chee said Bollore Logistics will work with institutes of higher learning in Singapore to co-develop curriculum, conduct research and provide internship opportunities for students.

"The idea (for the collaboration with schools) is to focus on freight and logistics (solutions), and to have students participate on these projects," Mr Giordano explained, adding that the firm is working with institutions like the Republic Polytechnic and the National University of Singapore.

The programmes will be launched in 2020, Bollore Logistics said.

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